Industry-Aligned Learning: How Colleges Can Respond to Workforce Needs

Dr. Lori Suddick, President of the College of Lake County

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Technical and community colleges not just degree factories; they're the solution to meeting the shifting demands of the workforce while creating economic and social mobility for individuals.

In this episode of the podcast, we're joined by Dr. Lori Suddick, President of the College of Lake County, to dive into this important topic of education-industry alignment.

CLC is positioned at the heart of the Midwestern manufacturing corridor, where large, globally integrated companies in manufacturing, supply chain, distribution, pharma, and high-tech have generated a huge demand for skilled talent in the region.

Discover three of the strategies CLC has used to meet the needs of these industries - strategies you can deploy in your own region, too.

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. The Advanced Technology Center is directly addressing the skilled talent shortage by training individuals with the high-tech skills needed by regional employers: Dr. Suddick recognized that the college did not have the capacity to provide the hands-on skills training her regional employers needed most. The Advanced Technology Center was a massive effort of the college to secure 182,000 square feet of learning space to increase this capacity. Currently, the ATC offers industrial maintenance technology and welding & fabrication, with big plans to expand.
  2. SACA certifications are a sure-fire way to align curriculum to industry needs, since the standards were written by industry: In an effort to offer programming that teaches the most in-demand and relevant skills, CLC turned to the Smart Automation Certification Alliance. SACA's third-party certifications are designed and validated by industrial employers, so the college is sure their curriculum is aligned to what industry has defined as important.
  3. The new regional manufacturing alliance will pull together stakeholders from education, industry and workforce organizations to solve the region's workforce issues: Taking inspiration from similar alliances in the Midwest, this new regional manufacturing alliance being spearheaded by CLC will get everyone at the same table to create strategies and enact projects that solve their most pressing workforce challenges. This collaborative effort will benefit education, industry and most importantly, individuals and families within the community.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

To learn more about the College of Lake County, visit:

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