MATTOON -- Lake Land College is preparing to offer a tuition and fees waiver program for students enrolled in fast track training for printing operator jobs at LSC Communications in Mattoon.
The Lake Land Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on this pilot workforce program, which could also be used by other manufacturers, when it meets at 6 p.m. tonight (Monday, Aug. 13) in Kluthe Center, room 220, in Effingham. The board is also set to hear a Kluthe Center update report during this meeting.
Regarding the tuition and fees waiver program, Lake Land established a partnership with LSC Communications this year to provide an eight-week, 16 credit hour fast track training program taught by college faculty.
Individuals who complete the training receive a manufacturing skills certificate from the college and are hired by LSC in positions of bindery operator, press operator or assistant press operator at wages of $16 to $18 per hour. Once hired, the employees enter into an apprenticeship to learn the craft of printing.
The first cohort of students completed the LSC program in July, and the college and LSC are now working to enroll the next cohort to begin classes this fall.
“Through our initial work together, we have come to believe that many local residents are hesitant to enroll in a college program without the assurance that they have sufficient financial support to cover their cost of the program or that they will be employed at the end,” Lake Land President Josh Bullock stated in a memo to the board.
Bullock said as Lake Land continues to collaborate with community partners to prepare “local residents for local employment,” the college would like to request approval to pilot a guaranteed financial assistance program for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years.
If a local business collaborates with the college to identify a training opportunity through which participants will earn a college certificate of at least 16 credit hours and the business guarantees that all students who complete the program will obtain employment at this business in a specific position with a stated wage rate, the college will guarantee financial assistance to the students through the pilot program.
“The student participants will earn a college certificate and employment, the college will gain students, and our community partners will gain employees,” Bullock said.
Bullock said that while the potential cost of tuition and fee waivers may vary according to specific program costs, Lake Land’s experience with the first cohort suggests that at least half of the participants will qualify for federal or state assistant. Six students enrolled in the first cohort.