February is recognized as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and Spoon River College joins other Illinois community colleges in celebrating the valuable role they play in preparing the workforce for in-demand jobs.

“For more than 60 years, Spoon River College has been providing career and technical education programs that lead to employment in high-demand and high-wage careers such as nursing, agriculture, and computer technology,” said Brad O’Brien, dean of career and technical education at Spoon River College. “This benefits our students, our communities, and our regional employers.”

CTE programs offer a cost-effective way for individuals to pursue their career goals, and are designed to prepare students for immediate employment once they successfully complete the course work. Many offer short-term certificates, which can typically be completed in a year or less.

“Certificates within a program can stand-alone, or a student can complete all the certificates within the program and earn an associate in applied science. It’s a great way to get quick skills training and get started in a particular field,” O’Brien said.

According to the Association for Career and Technical Education, Illinois is currently experiencing a skills gap; 52% of jobs in Illinois require skills training, but only 41% of Illinois workers are trained at this level.  Key Illinois industries experiencing this gap include agriculture and food production, energy, advanced manufacturing, and life sciences and biotechnology. In 2020, CTE degrees and certificates made up 53% of all awards conferred by the Illinois community college system.

CTE programs offered by Spoon River College include Advanced Manufacturing, Agricultural Business Management, Computer Information Systems, Diesel and Power Systems Technology, Health Information Management, and Nursing. For more information, visit www.src.edu.

Students welding, working on a diesel tractor, and practicing medical assisting skills