Kaskaskia College Hosts Advisory Board Meeting in Trenton

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 Clinton County.


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 programs.


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 College district.


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.




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