Lake Land offers free courses this fall

Zoë Donovan, Reporter

Free Welding, BNA and GED programs are coming to Lake Land this coming fall. The Illinois Community College Board has granted funding from federal and state level towards the Adult Education and Family Literacy Grant and into Lake Land College. This grant aims to promote a more accessible system for adult education, as well provide financial aid to the students.

Community colleges across Illinois have signed on to participate in similar programs, as announced by Matt Berry in a press release for the Illinois Community College Board this past spring. This was called the Comprehensive Agreement Regarding the Expansion of Educational Resources or CAREER Agreement for short.

“The hope is to give individuals short term training that gives them an employable skill to enter the workforce,” Dirk Muffler, Director of Adult and Alternative Education, said.

Though there are no prerequisites for students of these programs, to qualify for the financial aid they must actually be in the need of aid. This need is determined at the state level through several factors, including whether or not the individual has a GED or high school diploma, or is on public assistance. These individuals, prior to program, are often unemployed, or underemployed.

“Our students are typically identified as low income. They simply don’t have the ability to pay for these classes,” Muffler said. It is estimated that with the financial aid provided to these students, each is saving on average $1000, when including course fees and material costs.

Work on the welding program originally began around three years ago, and directors began to look into industries and identify those that had the most demand. They used an Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System or ICAPS as a model for these programs. The goal of an ICAPS model is to use both technical and basic skills training in the courses to provide a fully formed and well-rounded experience and education for students.

BNA courses are approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health and at the end of the course students are given the opportunity to take state certification exams. The only cost not covered by the college for the GED course is the cost of the four-section online exam. BNA, Welding and GED courses are all available through the college at multiple locations.

Students or individuals who are interested and believe they could benefit from these programs are encouraged to contact the Adult Education Services here at Lake Land College.

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