SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) has granted nearly $9.2 million to 44 organizations, including 21 community colleges, throughout Illinois to help address education and unemployment gaps. Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey was part of the grants, and will receive $88,000 for the objective of wrap-around support services.

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The funding will be used to help minority and low-income students as well as individuals with disabilities remove barriers to completing their education and career goals through the Innovative Bridge and Transition Grant program (IBT).

“Closing the equity gap in higher education is a critical priority of the Illinois Community College Board, and this grant funding helps community colleges and other organizations throughout Illinois do that. These financial resources help provide effective equitable education and career opportunities for thousands of Illinoisans who may otherwise not have the opportunity to better their lives through meaningful education,” said ICCB executive director Brian Durham.

These initiatives improve student transitions to and through postsecondary education and into employment, support transitions for individuals with disabilities, and scale programs that promote equity and diversity among those served. Last year’s grant program served more than 7,000 individuals.

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The IBT grant funds are intended to help colleges and community organizations meet four main objectives:

Objective 1: Adult Education Bridge and ICAPS Programming: Create new or greatly expand bridge or integrated education and training programming, which shall include contextualized basic reading, math, and language skills, occupational competencies, and employability skills.

Objective 2: Seamless Transitions for College and Career Pathways: Implement programs that provide seamless transitions from high school to college or between postsecondary institutions, CTE program of study development, or college and career pathway endorsement activities; apprenticeships, or Out-of-School Youth Career Activities, whereas the program is specifically aimed at helping out-of-school youth (ages 16-24) to become reoriented and motivated to complete their education by allowing students to participate in adult education instruction as well as career training activities. Programs can be modeled after, or as a supplement to, the ICCB Early School Leaver Transitions Program.

Objective 3:Wrap-around Support Services: Utilize transition/wraparound services that provide students with the information and assistance they need to equitably access and persist along their career pathway. Services may include academic advising, career pathway navigation, tutoring, supplemental instruction, study skills, coaching, and referrals to individual support services (e.g., basic needs including housing, transportation, and childcare).

Objective 4: Seamless Transitions for Students with Disabilities: Create comprehensive programming for individuals with disabilities that provides vocational, and psychological counseling, transitional and educational services, and job placement activities for them to live and work independently in the community. These programs may include transitions from high school to college as well as college to employment.

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