Start your career with KCC programs

Start your career with KCC programs

Career and Technical Education Month

Start your career with KCC programs

Posted On: 02/09/23

February is a special month for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Illinois community colleges.

Kankakee Community College is among those celebrating the role of community colleges in preparing students for in-demand jobs through CTE programs. These programs offer hands-on training and real-world experience in industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and technology.

According to the National Skills Coalition, many middle-skill jobs, which require education beyond high school but not a four-year college degree, are in CTE fields such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and Information Technology. These fields are projected to be among the fastest-growing occupations through 2029.

“KCC’s CTE programs have a proven track record over the years, in assisting new students fulfill a dream skill set for job entry, as well as our returning students that want to gain additional skills for their current employment situation,” said Paul Carlson, dean of KCC’s Business, Technology and Human Services Division. “Our close relationships with area employers creates a team approach to curriculum enhancement as well as employment opportunities, which provides a win for both employees and employers.”

“The future is bright for our KCC health career students,” said Chris Gibson, dean of KCC’s Health Careers Division. “We have a strong working relationship with our healthcare providers in the community. Students have the opportunity to receive valuable real-world training in the clinical setting due to these partnerships. Our lab spaces and simulation equipment help offer KCC graduates the confidence to master their skills prior to entering the workforce."

Gibson shared that the college’s health careers programs utilize technology and equipment such as high-fidelity simulators, augmented reality, and virtual reality. 

At KCC, students can prepare for certification or earn a credential in areas such as Electrical Engineering Technology, Early Childhood Education, Manufacturing Technology, Medical Laboratory Technology, Nursing, Paramedic, Radiography, Respiratory Therapist, Solar-Photovoltaic, and Welding. Last year, 213 students earned more 450 associate in applied science degrees, advanced certificates and certificates.

Some KCC highlights:

  • The One Workforce Grant has assisted over 50 KCC students over the past academic year. It provides tuition and fees for manufacturing-related programs (manufacturing, welding, machine tool, electrical engineering and others). The grant is offered by the U.S. Department of Labor in affiliation with the Calumet Area Industrial Commission. The grant funding will continue through the Fall 2024 semester. Prospective students can learn more and submit an information request at
  • The Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity grant has provided over 40 KCC students with tuition and fees assistance toward Early Childhood Education programs and certificates. Information and a request form for prospective students is at Interested students can also phone or email Christina Nojd at or 815-802-8677.
  • The Pipeline for the Advancement of the Healthcare Workforce grant is being used to help at-risk students successfully complete classes. The grant also paid for a high-fidelity pediatric simulator which is used by multiple disciplines. 
  • Twice per year, an interdisciplinary simulation involves students from every health career program. During the half-day event, the departments must work together as they complete the continuum of care for the patient.
  • Seven health careers programs at KCC have 100% job placement.

KCC graduates with an Associate in Applied Science or Advanced Certificate have a high rate of return on investment, with an extra $740,000 earned over a 40-year career, according to a 2021 study from the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University. Additionally, the NIU study found that 85.3% of KCC grads are working in a career related to their degree within one year, and 91.3% are working in a job related to their career within 10 years.

For more information about career and technical education options at KCC, visit, chat at, or phone 815-802-8500.

Two grads share their KCC experiences

"The KCC PTA program has done an amazing job at preparing me for my career. Before I left the program, I already had already accepted a job offer before I graduated and another additional offer. What sets this program apart is standards, the bar is set high, and it makes us stand out in our clinical rotation having constant positive feedback that this program consistently sending out high quality students as we become clinicians." - Diego Gonzalez, 2022 Physical Therapist Assistant Graduate

"KCC was a wonderful choice for me. As a respiratory therapist you can start out in the medical field making a very livable age with room for growth. After two short years, you will have the start to a very rewarding career. Also wanted to add the professors and the preceptors are also so wonderful. They truly care about the students success and make sure not only that we can pass our board exams but that we are well rounded therapists as we go into the work force. I also had a job lined up prior to graduation pending my boards." - Lydia Salgado, 2019 Respiratory Therapist Graduate

Additional information

KCC Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs award one or more of these degrees: Associate in Applied Science, Advanced Certificate, Certificate.

Associate in Applied Science (AAS) – The AAS is a career preparation degree where hands-on learning is the norm. The AAS Generally takes two years of full-time study to complete. Part-time enrollment is also possible. Although credits do not usually transfer to four-year colleges/universities, there are some transfer agreements. These programs are 60-72 credit hours, including at least 15 credit hours of general education.

Advanced Certificate or Certificate – An Advanced Certificate is short-term career training featuring hands-on courses. This is a “deep dive” into a career field, with classes covering multiple topics and advanced learning. The advanced certificate usually does not require many courses outside of the selected career area. The programs are 30-50 credit hours. A certificate is a short-term career training featuring hands-on courses. They focus on one specific area within a field. Certificates require two or more courses; and less than 30 credit hours.

CTE programs within KCC Business, Technology and Human Services Division:

  • Agri-Hort
  • Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
  • Automotive Technology
  • Business
  • Computer Graphics Technology
  • Diesel Technology
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Electrical Engineering Technology
  • Hospitality Management
  • Law Enforcement
  • Office Professional
  • Machine Tool Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Millwright
  • Paraprofessional/Teacher’s Aide
  • Supply Chain
  • Welding Technology

CTE programs within KCC Health Careers Division

  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Nursing
  • Paramedic/EMT
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Radiography
  • Respiratory Therapist