The Illinois 60 by 25 Network has designated Boone County as a new Leadership Community.
Pamela Lopez-Fettes, Executive Director for Growth Dimensions Economic Development stated, “A majority of employers need employees who have a post-secondary degree or certification.” She continued, “This designation allows Boone County to enhance our network in order to provide opportunities to students, employees and employers.”
In order to be designated as a Leadership Community, communities must go through an extensive application process. Parts of the application are to develop a plan of action for working with partners to achieve a local and career outcome goal(s), create a community 60 by 25 plan, and identify partners who will serve as trusted intermediary organizations to build a strong and cohesive environment for success.
Belvidere Community Unit School District 100 laid the groundwork for Boone County’s designation when their Superintendent, Dr. Daniel Woestman, and the strategic planning team developed the mission statement, “To empower all learners to achieve personal excellence.”
“From there, we made advancements in career readiness programs and student-centered learning environments for secondary students.” commented Nik Butenhoff, Director of Career Readiness for District 100. “Becoming an Illinois 60 by 25 Network Leadership Community was a logical next step.”
Engaging additional community partners, District 100 began working with North Boone Community Unit School District 200 and Growth Dimensions Economic Development to formalize a plan to work together with local employers to develop career development experiences that align to the state’s endorsement framework. This collaborative partnership, coupled with the plan of action, cemented Boone County’s designation.
Over the next two years, District 100, District 200 and Growth Dimensions Economic Development will focus on five key goals.
- Support District 100 with implementation of college and career pathway endorsements as outlined in the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act. These pathways will need to demonstrate to students a clear path from secondary to postsecondary education and eventual careers.
- Support District 100 in implementing competency-based graduation requirements in high-school.
- Work with Rock Valley College to expand their early college credit options by exploring articulated and dual credit course offerings in the secondary buildings and dual credit options at RVC’s Advanced Technology Center(ATC).
- Develop a scholarship program that will allow District 100 students who have earned a College and Career Readiness endorsement the opportunity to attend postsecondary coursework at the ATC for free.
- Work with Growth Dimensions Economic Development to identify local manufacturer training opportunities at the ATC and connect employers to interested secondary students. As part of this work, District 100 will work to identify ways to incorporate the North Boone School District in District 100 career pathway initiatives including postsecondary opportunities at the ATC.