Group Pushes to Get Illinois Students To and Through College


Published on July 22 2014 10:21 am
Last Updated on July 22 2014 10:21 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Illinois education, government and non-profit leaders gathered near Chicago to address challenges and identify solutions in helping Illinoisans get to college and graduate.

The 4th Annual College Changes Everything Conference drew more than 500 people for the one-day event in Tinley Park. The conference is part of a college access movement initiated by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, in part to help the state achieve its goal of increasing the proportion of adults in Illinois with high quality postsecondary credentials or degrees to 60% by the year 2025. Currently, the state is not on track to meet that goal.

The primary theme of the conference this year focused on using collective impact...truly collaborative efforts among communities, local government, non-profits and state advance towards Goal 2025.

Speakers highlighted the importance of partnerships between business and educational institutions that build education to career pathways and align academic content with real world applications. These partnerships also provide opportunities for applied learning and work experience during college, which may increase persistence in college, and lead to higher employment rates post-college.

Other conference topics included sessions on innovative ways to improve college and career readiness, and the impact of afterschool programs on truancy and college readiness.