By Jennifer Duda,
Emphasizing the importance of continued support for career and technical education to help grow the middle class, U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL 8th District) last week visited the innovative learning labs at the College of DuPage Technical Education Center.
The center, located on the College’s Glen Ellyn campus, includes 31 classrooms, 16 state-of-the-art laboratories to accommodate 1,400 students, as well as space for raw material and vehicular storage. In addition, an adjacent greenhouse provides a hands-on laboratory for Horticulture students.
Home to the College's Architecture, Interior Design, Horticulture, Automotive Technology, Computer-Aided Design, Construction Management, Electro-Mechanical Technology, Electronics-Integrated Engineering Technology, Manufacturing Technology, Welding Technology, and Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration programs, the LEED-certified center features two windmills and four solar panels on its roof to provide students with hands-on study of emerging wind/solar energy technologies.
“Everywhere I look, I see a glimpse of something even more interesting, even more innovative, even more thought provoking,” said Krishnamoorthi. “I am proud of what you are doing (at College of DuPage) and what we’re accomplishing in Washington to create more job training and job opportunities to help grow the middle class.”
The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Law is the primary federal funding vehicle for skills-based education in the country. Krishnamoorthi and Glenn “G.T.” Thompson of Pennsylvania championed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21stCentury Act, a bipartisan bill and the first reauthorization of the Perkins CTE Act since 2006. Both the House of Representatives and Senate passed the new act, nicknamed Perkins V, and at the end of July, it was signed into law and will go into effect July 1, 2019. Funding will increase during these years, up to $1.3 billion by 2024, while major reforms strengthen what is in place, including special emphasis on career paths.
In FY19, College of DuPage received $1.403 million through a formula that considers the number of students eligible for Pell grants who declare interest in a CTE program. Perkins funding plays a key role in programs throughout campus, including the HVACR program where funding has enabled students to build their own systems trainers.
“Everything you see in this lab is built by our students, not contractors,” said HVACR Program Coordinator Bob Clark. “Everything from the pumps, to the concrete poured for the bases, to all the piping systems that you see running in the lab and students have to manage that so that it’s comfortable."
College of DuPage President Dr. Ann Rondeau applauded Krishnamoorthi and his colleagues for their diligence in crafting a supporting bipartisan legislation that directly benefits job seekers.
“Your dedication to workforce development is to be commended,” she said. “You have been so helpful and a great leader in securing more Perkins funding, which College of DuPage and other institutions may use, in turn, to provide skilled workers to a number of industries.”
Learn more about Career and Technical Education at College of DuPage.
College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 25,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The College grants seven associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study.