College preparation and career readiness are the focus of the Kishwaukee Education Consortium as it works with five local school districts and Kishwaukee College to offer classes to area high school youth. Executive Director Tom Crouch gave an update about the organization’s vocational, alternative and college credit programs at the March 11 Sycamore Rotary meeting.
KEC began in the 1980s and offers tech and college prep to 600 to 700 students each year from the Sycamore, DeKalb, Genoa-Kingston, Hiawatha and Rochelle school districts. Alternate education programs were added in the 1990s. KEC’s main site is on the campus of Kishwaukee College in Malta.
Crouch listed a list of 21 career certifications and college credit courses available through KEC, some with special community partnerships.
For example, instruction for Emergency Medical Technician training comes from Sycamore and Cortland fire departments. The aviation program is based at DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport. Welding includes using facilities at Sycamore High School.
Crouch said he is looking at job demand, technology and job candidate preparations for curriculum enhancements. This includes adding night classes to accommodate schedules of both students and faculty; more computer training; and soft-skills training so someone graduating from KEC has both the technical skills and social skills to be a success in the workplace or at an institution of higher learning.