Kaskaskia College held an Advisory Board meeting at the
Trenton House Restaurant in Trenton on Wednesday, November 13. The event was attended by over twenty
community members and KC personnel. The
purpose of the meeting was to give the attendees an update on the status of the
college and to solicit input on how KC can better serve the citizens of Western
Much of the discussion at the meeting centered around the
Trenton Education center which is currently under renovation and construction
in the old Illinois Power building on Old Rt. 50, a building which was gifted
to the College by the City of Trenton.
KC had occupied 3,800 square feet of the building
previously, and with the entire building at its disposal and an addition under
construction, nearly 16,000 square feet of instructional, office, and commons
space will be available to serve students and the community. The project is expected to be finished around
March of 2014.
After a welcoming message and introductions from Dr. Scott
Crothers, Dean of Student Success and Arlene Covington, Director of the Trenton
Education Center, Dr. Jim Underwood, President of KC, led the attendees through
some of the highlights of the state of the College. These highlights included the status of the
Trenton center construction as well as updates on other building projects that
the College is or soon will be undertaking.
Dr. Underwood also spoke of the college enrollments, which are at over
12,500 students, and the benefit to area families of the dual-credit program,
in which high school students may take classes that count for KC credit. Area families have saved a considerable
amount of money in tuition with dual credit.
Dr. Greg Labyak, Vice-president of Instruction for KC, gave
a more detailed update on the new programs proposed for the expanded Trenton
Center, including Nurse Assisting and a number of industrial occupation
training programs, including a highly anticipated Industrial and Residential
Wiring program and the possibility of a welding program in the adaptable
industrial laboratory section of the new Center. By focusing on a multi-use industrial lab
space, the College can more easily adapt to meeting changing needs for
industrial training than if the lab space was specialized for only one or two
Dr. Labyak also opened the floor to comments and concerns,
seeking input on what the College has done and what it can do now and in the
future to meet the needs of employers and students in the western part of the
It was suggested that the College could fulfill a need for
more Continuing Professional Education (CPE) classes for professionals in
various industries in the area. Dr.
Underwood pointed out that KC stands ready and willing to host CPE sessions
whenever a need may occur. He pointed
out the recent CPE for accounting professionals at the Workforce Center in
Centralia as an example.
The new Trenton Education Center will feature
classroom/meeting spaces similar to those at other KC education centers and the
Lifelong Learning Center on the main campus that will allow for an expanded
number of seminars, testing, and meetings of educational and civic groups.
The new center will also feature three Business Incubator
offices, in which startup businesses can have an office space and technology,
along with the expertise of the staff, to give their small businesses a chance
to grow with limited overhead cost. A
concern was raised that these incubator offices may be used by startups without
sound business models and a chance to succeed in the area. Dr. Underwood said that the incubators were
administered by the Small Business development Center (SBDC) and that any
business approved for an incubator would be completely vetted by the SBDC for
sound business models and practices. He noted
that the incubator offices were designed around service industries. Examples he gave were attorneys, accountants,
real estate agents, investment professionals, etc.
A question was raised about the opportunity for public
transportation between Trenton and the main campus in Centralia. It was brought to light that South Central
Transit runs bus lines throughout the Clinton County area.
Another question raised was about the possibility of classes
for high school age students on making good career and life choices, which Dr.
Underwood answered by pointing out that the College has personnel assigned to
each area high school to help them enlighten students on career growth
opportunities and habits that lead to successful academic and life skills.