Lt. Gov. Simon to visit MCC

CRYSTAL LAKE – Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon plans to visit McHenry County College to talk about completion rates as part of a tour of the state’s 48 community colleges.

Simon and her staff will tour the Crystal Lake campus, and she will participate in a roundtable discussion with MCC employees, students and community members. The talk will be from noon to 1 p.m. Monday in the college’s employee dining room, Room B177C, 8900 Route 14.

The event is free and open to the public.

With education reform in mind, Simon is visiting community colleges to push for higher completion rates.

Simon also is looking at what schools are doing to produce more graduates and asking questions about how the state can assist.

State officials want 60 percent of working-age adults to have college degrees or certificates by 2025. About 41 percent have these credentials now, according to Simon’s office.

“Nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the future will require a college certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree, but at today’s pace, less than half of our workforce will ever achieve that level of education,” Simon said. “We must work together to reform our higher education system so that our students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Simon also is focused on remedial math classes. Last year, 21 percent of Illinois community college students enrolled in at least one remedial course, often math. The catch-up classes cost money, but don’t count toward degrees or certificates.

More than half of MCC students have taken developmental math rather than college-level math courses in the past five years. Administrators are working to reduce the number of students in these classes through a summer student program that has high school teachers teach side-by-side with MCC faculty to line up course work.

MCC leaders hope to use the visit to show what is working at the college and what problems it faces.

“Among the challenges MCC participants will discuss, are further aligning high school and community college curriculum to prepare students for entry into college; the length of time to get new, high-demand programming implemented; lack of resources to help adult learners persist; and no mandate for consistency among four-year institutions regarding transferability of coursework,” said Christina Haggerty, the college’s marketing and public relations director.

If you go

What: Community college discussion with Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon.

When: Noon to 1 p.m. Monday.

Where: McHenry County College employee dining room (B177C), 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

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