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“It’s worth the struggle. If I didn’t have my son, if I didn’t have to struggle through classes, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. I’m now very appreciative of everything because I started with nothing. I had to work for it all and the things I learned along the way are priceless.” -Taylor Bradley, A.A.S. 2018
“I chose KCC because it makes economic sense, and for the convenience. I was able to take a lot of general education classes at night and still work full time. I’ve found plenty of opportunities to succeed, and the staff are always there to help.” -Brandon Schunke, RN class of 2020
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The KCC Veterans Center is featured in a new article on Shelterforce.org, an independent website covering community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization.
The article, “Informal Gathering Spaces for Healing Community Trauma,” (Aug. 9, 2019) shares how the center was designed with veterans in mind.
“When student veterans have a place where they can go where others understand their experiences and challenges, they feel more at ease and are better able to concentrate on schoolwork,” said the author, Abena Asare. Dr. Cari Stevenson is a KCC psychology professor and advisor of the college’s Veteran’s Association.
“Some people were wondering if we had a place only for veterans, would it isolate them [from the rest of the campus community] rather than make them feel more connected?” Stevenson said. “The life experience veterans have is so very different from the traditional student. Military culture is very prescriptive. [Active-duty service members] don’t have a lot of choices. Now they’re expected to know how to do everything.
“A dedicated space where veterans can hang out helps them to connect with people they know will understand them," Stevenson said.
The other advisor of the Veteran’s Association is Kendra Souligne, who also works in the college’s financial aid office.
“Kendra helps veterans use and understand their educational benefits,” Stevenson said. “She is their first contact, and plays such a critical role. Her assistance really sets the stage for veterans to succeed. Kendra usually brings them to the Veterans Center very soon after she first meets them in financial aid area.”
Shelterforce’s article also described the PhotoVoice project, which supports veteran participants in efforts to build connectedness, community and conversation through photography. In Fall 2018, former KCC student Robert Perez was featured in a Movember Foundation article and video about PhotoVoice.
[The photos show Dustin Blaylock of Bourbonnais, an Army veteran (top photo, at left); and Ryan Jensen of Manteno, a Marine veteran; plus Brad Lowry of Kankakee (second photo), an Air Force veteran, all taking part in a KCC Veteran's Association meeting in the college’s Veterans Center. Also shown is Kendra Souligne, one of the club advisors.]
On Thursday, Oct. 3, Kankakee Community College will host its Annual Fall Job Fair from 9 a.m. - noon in the KCC College Center.
Job seekers do not need to pre-register. This free event is open to the public. Veterans are encouraged to attend as well. All candidates should dress professionally and bring plenty of resumes to distribute to employers.
“Preparation is a key to success for attending a job fair,” said Kim Schott, coordinator of career services at KCC. “One way to get ready is by attending a free workshop being offered before the event.”
The job fair workshops are listed at kcc.edu/careerservices. They include“Working a Job Fair: How to Improve Your Odds,” on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Other sessions concentrate on resumes, cover letters, job search skills and interview skills. More than 50 businesses and industries will be at the Job Fair. Employers will conduct pre-screening interviews for full- and part-time positions. Manufacturers will be available to answer questions, accept applications/resumes, and to demonstrate their products.
“The Job Fair is an ideal setting for students, graduates, veterans and community members to learn more about area employers and current opportunities,” Schott said. “We want participants to dress professionally, bring resumes and to enjoy the experience of meeting employers from throughout the area.”
KCC’s Riverfront campus is located south of downtown Kankakee, off River Road, near U.S. 45-52, or take Interstate 57 to Exit 308 and follow the signs. Directions are at www.kcc.edu/directions.
The Job Fair is sponsored by KCC’s Charlton Family Foundation Career Services Center. For additional information, phone 815-802-8222 or visit www.kcc.edu/careerservices.
Seventeen students representing eight local communities have joined the 2019 Kankakee Community College Fast Path degree program.
The program is called “Fast Path,” and it simplifies college planning by having all courses, dates and times prearranged and guaranteed. Fast Path students complete two classes at a time, meet two days a week, and move on to new classes every eight weeks. They will earn an Associate in Arts transfer degree in two years. Some coursework is online in the program, and in-person classes are at the KCC Harold and Jean Miner South Extension Center, 1488 E. Walnut St. in Watseka.
“This program has taken guesswork out of college,” said Rexann McKinley, KCC professor and program mentor. “Fast Path students have a support system they can rely on. We mentor, guide and coach each student. We want them to be successful.”
“We give the students the tools they need, including a new laptop and assist them every step of the way,” said Nancy Schunke, KCC South Extension Center coordinator. “Our graduates will be ready to transfer to a four-year college or university.”
The Fall 2019 students are the second group to enroll in the Fast Path program at KCC’s Watseka location. Their classes began Tuesday, Aug. 20.
The students are: Dioselin Andrade of Gilman; Jordan Bard of Iroquois; Vanessa Martinez of Kankakee; Ian Nemeth and Zachary Whitson of Martinton; Lindsey Huff of Milford; Camila Ochoa, Dalton Reed, Cole Stone and Elizabeth Trujillo, of Onarga; Emily Dluzak, Samantha Graves, Elizabeth Bisping, Nathan Conrad, Brock Horner and Jacqulynn Schill, of Watseka; and Wyatt Suver of Woodland. “I chose the fast path program for a few reasons,” said Dalton Reed. “The first being that it is close to home and I don’t have to make a long drive and be at the main campus all day. Another reason is that the structure of the program keeps me on track in pursuing an associate’s degree.”
In August 2018, the inaugural group of 11 Fast Path students entered the program. All 11 are now sophomores. They have started classes and are also finalizing their decisions on where to transfer, Schunke said.
“I absolutely love this program!” said Sadee Wuethrich, sophomore Fast Path student. “It is great for those students transferring right out of high school or for those looking to start their educational plan. The classes are consistent and the faculty and staff are extremely helpful.”
“Fast Path has helped teach me how to manage time and prepare me for transfer to another college after I receive my associate’s degree.” said Daniel Devine, sophomore Fast Path student.
For more information about the Fast Path program visit fastpath.kcc.edu or phone 815-802-8708.
KCC is an accredited two-year college which awards associate degrees and certificates of completion. KCC prepares students both to transfer to four-year colleges and to enter the workforce. The college also offers continuing education courses and certification training, literacy programs, English as a Second Language and GED preparation. The KCC mission is “Enhancing quality of life through learning.” The college has a Riverfront Campus in Kankakee, South Extension Center in Watseka, North Extension Center in Bradley and Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Center in Kankakee.