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.

CTE programs offered at Spoon River College include Advanced Manufacturing, Agricultural Business Management, Computer Information Systems, Diesel and Power Systems Technology, Health Information Management, and Nursing. Future programs in the works include HVAC and Robotics Repair. All CTE programs offered at Spoon River College can be viewed at www.src.edu.

“Illinois community colleges are a leading workforce developer in the state and are continuing to expand access and opportunities to dozens of good paying careers,” said Brian Durham, Executive Director of the Illinois Community College Board. “CTE programs at community colleges are an essential part of our state’s workforce development strategy, and we are proud to be a part of preparing the next generation of workers.”

Statewide, nearly 37,500 students graduated from the more than 4,600 approved CTE certificate and degree programs offered by Illinois Community Colleges in 2023.

The National Skills Coalition says nearly two-thirds of jobs in the U.S. economy are middle-skill jobs that require education beyond high school but not a four-year college degree. Many of these jobs are in CTE fields such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and IT which are among the fastest-growing occupations projected through 2029 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.