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College of Lake County Introduces Free Tuition Program Providing Pathway to New Careers

Nearly 200 residents of Lake County, with specific emphasis on North Chicago, Round Lake, Waukegan and Zion, will receive free tuition, textbooks, exam fees, and expenses for nine career certificates through the College of Lake County’s new Transform Lake County program. Thanks to the leadership of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, this $1.5 million grant is funded by the State of Illinois through the Illinois Community College Board.

This program targets those who may be seeking a rewarding career, but have very limited time and funding for schooling. Eligible residents can earn a certificate in: administrative management technology, automotive collision repair, forklift operator, heating and air conditioning (HVAC), truck driving, certified nursing assistant, dental assistant, healthcare office assistant and phlebotomy (now full). Additional scholarships also are available to cover living expenses such as childcare, housing, and transportation.

“Transform Lake County creates more equity in the Lake County workforce by offering an education at no cost to the student,” said Jesus Ruiz, dean of the college’s Lakeshore (Waukegan) Campus.

One resident who sees the value of learning a career quickly is Beach Park resident Desira Daniel, who recently completed CLC’s phlebotomy program. “I wanted to enroll in a medical program with manageable classes while working full-time,” Daniel said. “I was able to take all three phlebotomy classes required for the certificate in one semester and balance them with my working hours.” Attending college and working a job full time is no small feat, but she proves it’s worth the investment.

Local truck-driving careers now offer more than long-haul positions, said Feleicia Nixon Gregory, career specialist for Lake County Workforce Development. “While many people still transition into ‘over-the-road’ truck driving jobs, I’ve seen a recent spike in local truck driving positions where you can go home after driving your route every day,” she explained. “Truck driving opportunities are trending high in Lake County with the expanding industries in the area. It’s a great time to get your license and a job.”

Besides truck driving, forklift operator positions are also available in Lake County, Nixon added. “Both forklift operator and truck driver are fast but challenging programs,” she explained. “We counsel people to focus and commit to the short program. When students dedicate themselves to their study, a world of opportunities opens to them.”

Through the leadership of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, Transform Lake County is funded by the State of Illinois through the Illinois Community College Board. To apply, complete the Transform Lake County interest form. For more information, visit www.clcillinois.edu/TLC or contact Ashley Ward at award1@clcillinois.edu or (847) 543-2390.

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