Workforce & Community Education

February 12, 2020

Kishwaukee College recently received a $2000 grant from First Midwest Bank to support small business development workshops offered through the College.

“Kish was selected because of the business development program they offer to the community,” says Lesley Flores, vice president, community development manager at First Midwest Bank. The grant will support free small business development workshops. “We believe that fostering these entrepreneurs will help support and encourage economic growth and additional employment opportunities that will benefit not only the local community, but the entire DeKalb County,” Flores adds. 

An upcoming workshop series at Kish is designed to help local entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their business. The program covers a range of topics from creating a business success plan to developing a three-year budget to analyzing the marketing cycle to best sell, promote and distribute a product or service.

“Kish is excited to continually support small businesses and entrepreneurs. Kish takes pride in working to meet the needs of our community! Kish is honored to partner with First Midwest Bank and all our partners to further our mission,” comments LaCretia Konan, director of business & training partnerships.

The small business workshop series begins February 19 and runs through April 1. There are six free workshops in total and registration is required. To register for the small business workshops or for more information, visit www.kish.edu/smallbusiness.


Photo Caption: First Midwest Bank donated a $2000 grant to Kishwaukee College’s workforce & community education department to support small business workshops. Pictured from L to R: LaCretia Konan, director of business & training partnerships at Kish; Lesley Flores, vice president, community development manager at First Midwest Bank; and Dr. Laurie Borowicz, president of Kish.

November 27, 2019

The adult education program at Kishwaukee College is offering tuition-free English as a Second Language (ESL) and High School Equivalency (HSE/GED) classes in Spring 2020. Registration for these classes is required. Interested people can register at the College and at locations throughout the community. Learners should schedule at least 3 hours for registration, orientation and placement testing. Childcare will not be provided at registration locations. Classes begin January 13.

High School Equivalency (HSE/GED) classes prepare students to take the GED. Subject areas covered in these classes include reading, writing, social studies, science, math, and the U.S. Constitution. The classes are 8-weeks long and offered twice a semester. Classes can be taken at various locations throughout the community.

Spanish GED classes are offered at two locations and will meet January through April.

Beginning, intermediate and advanced ESL classes will meet January through April. Academic reading and writing ESL classes are open to ESL students who are interested in reading and writing improvement and college preparation. Students will need to score into placement.

Kish is also offering a citizenship class for people interested in learning about the U.S. citizenship process. Relevant information for the U.S. Citizenship test, basic interviewing, test-tasking skills, and English vocabulary and grammar will be covered, among other topics. Students will need to be 18 years of age or older and score into placement. This class will be offered March through May.

Registration dates at Kishwaukee College (21193 Malta Rd., Malta, IL) are:
December 10 from 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
December 11 from 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
December 17 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
December 18 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
December 19 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
January 2 from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
January 3 from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Registration dates at Westminster Presbyterian Church (830 N. Annie Glidden Rd., DeKalb, IL) are:
January 6 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
January 7 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
January 8 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Registration dates at Sycamore High School (555 Spartan Trail, Sycamore, IL) are:
January 7 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
January 8 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Registration dates at Christ Community Outreach Center (316 N. 6th St., DeKalb, IL) are:
January 6 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
January 8 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Registration dates at Rochelle United Methodist Church (709 4th Ave., Rochelle, IL) are:
January 6 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
January 7 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

For more information visit www.kish.edu/adulteducation or contact administrative assistant Mari Vesey at mvesey@kish.edu or 815-825-9420.


Photo: Registration opens in December for tuition free ESL and high school equivalency (HSE/GED) classes at Kishwaukee College. Photo: Students in an adult education course.

November 13, 2019

Kishwaukee College and Opportunity House, Inc. held a commencement ceremony on November 4 to honor Opportunity House clients who completed the Learning for Life I, Learning for Life II and Learning for Life III programs. Graduates from the program were presented with either a certificate, medal or plaque signifying the level they completed and recognizing their accomplishment and hard work. The Learning for Life program celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year.

Receiving a Certificate of Completion for Learning for Life I were Ashtion Atkins, Lolita Bennett, Carol Chmielewski, David Nerge, Adam Nimerfroh, Salvatore Siciliano and Angela Waters.

Receiving a Medal of Completion for Learning for Life II were William Berkheimer, Laura Bosshardt, Joanna King, Diane Ostrom, Matthew Rowan and Sandra Walker.

Receiving a Plaque of Completion for Learning for Life III were Sheila Buchholz, Alice Craig, Mary Guild, Sara Killey and Jason Meyers.

The graduates and their guests were welcomed to the College by Dr. Laurie Borowicz, president of Kishwaukee College, and Robert Shipman, executive director of Opportunity House, Inc., who offered congratulatory remarks. The National Anthem was sung by Brian Perkin, maintenance staff at Kish. Learning for Life developer and instructor Carla Raynor delivered the commencement address and called the candidates. Dr. Borowicz presented each graduate with their certificate, medal or plaque.

To complete each level in the Learning for Life program, Opportunity House clients must complete a designated number of core and elective classes. Each level in the program takes approximately two years to complete. Additionally, Level III students must complete a service project or designated community volunteer hours as part of the curriculum requirements.

Opportunity House, located in Sycamore and serving DeKalb County, assists people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with workforce training, living in homes of their choice and enjoying community life. Learning for Life developed out of interest from local community members who wanted educational opportunities for their adult children who had completed high school and life school but wanted to continue their education.

Beginning with one Animals class, interest grew amongst Opportunity House clients for more learning opportunities. In 2009, the program officially began with the curriculum being developed from student interest and class requests. Similar to obtaining any other certificate or degree, students choose the classes they take to fulfill program requirements. Subjects include math, science, art, culture, history, personal-social development and technology, among other subjects.

There have been 93 total graduates since the first Learning for Life commencement held in 2011.

Funding for Learning for Life is provided by the Kishwaukee College Foundation through the Douglas C. & Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation and The Francis Meyer Charitable Trust. Opportunities to contribute to the Learning for Life endowment are available. Please contact the Kish Foundation at 815-825-9803 for more information.

For more information on the Learning for Life program, contact developer and instructor Carla Raynor at craynor@kish.edu or call Opportunity House at 815-895-5108 ext. 152.


Photo: Kishwaukee College and Opportunity House, Inc. held a commencement ceremony on November 4 for graduates of the Learning for Life program Level I, II and III at the College. Pictured: Level I graduates, administration and faculty L to R, Dr. Laurie Borowicz, president of Kish; Bob Shipman, executive director of Opportunity House, Inc.; Carol Chmielewski, Level I graduate; Ashtion Atkins, Level I graduate; Lolita Bennett, Level I graduate; Adam Nimerfroh, Level I gradaute; Salvatore Siciliano, Level I graduate; Carla Raynor, developer and instructor of Learning for Life; and Angela Waters, Level I graduate. Not pictured David Nerge. Photo courtesy of Christie Kyler.

October 18, 2019

Kishwaukee College, The Rochelle Retail Advisory Board, and The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Waubonsee Community College sponsored the Innovation Challenge held on October 17 in the Kishwaukee College Conference Center. The “business idea” competition sought innovative ideas for launching a new business or new ideas for an existing business. Ten businesses and entrepreneurs competed for cash prizes.  

Competitors delivered 3-minute pitches to a panel of expert judges. Judges scored each pitch according to innovation and other categories on a mathematical rubric. Competitors included Abu Bakarr Bah with More With Us, Inc; Jacob Becker with Leverage; Gustavo Casa, Adam Coonich and Anguel Tochkov with Your Spot Awaits; Robert Glaser with Virtual Time Capsule; Joseph Kucic with KUCIC MC; Mary Ley with Aireloom Music, INC; Erin Nolan with INKubator Creative Arts Center; David Pack with Box Blox™; Candace Rivera with Hazel’s Café; and David Valdiva with Valdiva’s Custom Iron Works. 

The first place winner, David Pack of Schaumburg, received $1000 for Box Blox™ (of Insightful Solutions Group, LLC). The second place prize of $750 went to NIU students Gustavo Casa, Adam Coonich and Anguel Tochkov for Your Spot Awaits. Third place went to Mary Ley with Aireloom Music, Inc. in Mt. Morris who received $500. All other competitors received $100.

Serving as judges were: Jeff Fiegenschuh, city manager of Rochelle; Derek Hiland, community development director of DeKalb County; Manish Patel, owner of Liquor ‘n’ Wine in Rochelle; and Kate Shaw-Dickey, assistant vice president of human resources at Holcomb Bank.

“Events such as these support the entrepreneurial spirit that fuels so many great innovations and businesses,” comments LaCretia Konan, director of Business & Training Partnerships at Kish. “I would like to thank all the competitors for participating and wish them all the best.”

The sponsors would like to thank Liquor ‘n’ Wine, Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation (GREDCO), and the City of Rochelle for contributing the cash prizes; Jock Sommese, advisor for the SBDC, for preparing competitors and tallying scores; Peggy Friday, industrial development manager for the City of Rochelle, for assistance with the Innovation Challenge; and Samantha Burkus, owner of Sunshine Bakery in Rochelle, for providing desserts.

Plans are underway for the 2020 Innovation Challenge.

For more information, contact Kish’s director of Business & Training Partnerships LaCretia Konan at lkonan1@kish.edu or 815-825-9791.


Pictured: Ten area businesses and entrepreneurs pitched innovated business ideas to a panel of expert judges at the inaugural Innovation Challenge hosted at Kishwaukee College on October 17. Photo: The 2019 Innovation Challenge competitors.

October 9, 2019

Kishwaukee College will host a presentation on personal and professional tidying with the KonMari Method™. Founder of For the Love of Tidy, Kristyn Ivey, will be on Kish campus in room A1224 October 21 from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm to share the KonMari Method™ and encourage people to embrace tidying up as a life and workstyle. For the Love of Tidy is Chicago's first professional organizing consultancy specializing in the KonMari Method™ of tidying up and sparking joy. The workshop costs $15.

Popularized by the hit Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the KonMari Method™ teaches people how to simplify and organize their spaces by keeping physical items that bring joy and getting rid of those that do not. The method was created by organization expert Marie Kondo and is outlined in her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

The presentation on Kish campus will be delivered by Chicago’s first certified KonMari tidying consultant, Kristyn Ivey. Educated in both engineering and interior design, Kristyn applies project management and creativity in harmony with the KonMari Method™ to transform spaces through order and in style. Dedicated to the KonMari mission to organize the world, Krystin helps clients declutter their way to becoming Graduates of Tidy and masters of life.

Attendants of the presentation are encouraged to park in Lot A and enter through door 16.

For more information or to register, contact administrative assistant Tricia Hernandez at thernandez@kish.edu or call 815-825-9441.

October 2, 2019

Kishwaukee College, The Rochelle Retail Advisory Board, and The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Waubonsee Community College are proud to sponsor the Innovation Challenge, an exciting competition for local entrepreneurs and business owners to present their ideas and compete for prizes. The Innovation Challenge will take place in the Kish Conference Center on October 17 at 4:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

The Innovation Challenge is a “business idea” competition that focuses on innovative ideas for existing businesses as well as innovative ideas for launching a new business. Competitors will pitch newly formed ideas, fully developed business plans, and/or ideas for business expansion.

Competitors will present a 3-minute oral presentation to a panel of expert judges. The top three competitors will receive prizes that include cash, in-kind packages, and possible incubator space.

Community members are encouraged to attend. Guests can park in Lot A and enter through Door 16. Recording devices are prohibited.

For more information on the Innovation Challenge, visit www.kish.edu/innovationchallenge or contact Kish’s Director of Business & Training Partnerships LaCretia Konan at lkonan1@kish.edu or 815-825-9791.

September 27, 2019

Kishwaukee College is offering Food Sanitation and Forklift Operator Training courses on October 19. Food Sanitation is from 8:00 am — 6:00 pm in room B1274 on campus. Forklift Operator Training will run 8:30 am – 4:00 pm in room E130 on campus.

Food Sanitation is key for anyone working in the food service industry. The class covers safe food handling practices from start to finish. Participants are required to pick up the class textbook in C2150 prior to class. Cost of the textbook is included in the course fee. The class costs $185.

After completion of the Food Sanitation course, participants are qualified to take the Illinois Food Service Sanitation Certification exam, which is administered at the end of the class session. After passing the exam, the State of Illinois will assess a $35 certification fee. The certificate is good for five years.

During Forklift Operator Training class, participants will learn the basic knowledge and skills needed for safe powered industrial lift truck operation. Class includes lecture, discussion, video presentation, and hands-on training. The class costs $149.

After successful completion of a written exam and a driving skills class, students will receive an operator’s permit. The permit allows students to participate in on-site testing which must be administered by an employer.

For more information, visit www.kish.edu/foodsanitation or www.kish.edu/forklift. To register for Food Sanitation or Forklift Operator Training, contact administrative assistant Tricia Hernandez at thernandez@kish.edu or call 815-825-9441.

September 4, 2019

Kishwaukee College is proud to offer a variety of health and safety trainings and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) compliance topics this fall. The classes are open enrollment and designed to help working professionals maintain OSHA compliance within their industry.

OSHA 10-hour Construction Industry training is on September 24 from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm and September 25 from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. The training will cover the following primary topics: the inspection and citation process, working and walking surfaces including ladders and scaffolds, hazardous materials, fall protection, electrical safety, and material handling. Additional topics may be covered to meet participant needs. The training is recommended for managers, supervisors, team leaders, members of the company safety committee and employees that oversee contractors. All materials included. Participants must present a valid photo ID to earn the OSHA 10-hour construction industry card upon successful completion. Light breakfast provided both days and lunch provided on the first day only. Training cost is $299.

Forklift Operation Safety and Train-the-Trainer is on October 9 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. The class will review the Powered Industrial Truck Training Standard including inspection and materials handling. The class will also include the requirements for an in-house training program. Covered is training for employees receiving or shipping hazardous materials. A demonstration of proper cleanup of minor chemical spills of battery acid, oils and fuels used in powered industrial trucks will be provided. Training cost is $149.

DOT HAZ Mat is on October 9 from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. The Department of Transportation requires training for employees receiving or shipping hazardous materials. This training includes new changes in the 49 CFR hazardous materials table, packaging of materials, shipping paper and other documentation. The class also covers recognizing potential hazardous conditions when receiving packages. Participants are encouraged to bring a list of products they ship or receive and samples of shipping papers. A review of the Emergency Response Guidebook is also covered. Training cost is $149.

OSHA 10-hour General Industry training is on November 20 from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm and November 21 from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm. The training will cover the following primary topics: the inspection and citation process, working and walking surfaces including ladders and scaffolds, emergency plans and exit routes, the new GHS material safety data sheets and labeling, electrical safety, and machine guarding. The training will also include information on the updated changes to the illness and injury recordkeeping. All materials included. Participants must present a valid photo ID to earn the OSHA 10-hour general industry card upon successful completion. Light breakfast provided both days and lunch provided on the first day only. Training cost is $299.

All trainings will be taught by Jeff Clark. With over 20 years of experience as a safety and health instructor, Clark has developed, written, and delivered a myriad of customized programs meeting OSHA requirements and standards. He employs innovative, hands-on training techniques specifically designed for the adult learner.

For more information about each class, please visit www.kish.edu/osha. To register, contact Coordinator of Short-Term Training and Continuing Education Melissa Gallagher at mgallagher1@kish.edu or 815-825-9466.

September 3, 2019

Kishwaukee College and the Illinois workNet Center in DeKalb are hosting a Fall Job Fair on September 25 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm at DeKalb Rehab and Nursing Center, 2600 N. Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb. Job seekers should come prepared to fill in applications and make in-person connections with employers.

Employers that will be on site include: 4-C: Community Coordinated Child Care, Aerotek, Autism Home Support Services, Castor Home Nursing, Comfort Keepers, DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center, FedEx Freight, Inc., Fox Valley Community Services, FurstStaffing, Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa of South Elgin, Manpower of DeKalb, Menards Distribution Center in Plano, Menards of Sycamore, Milestone, Inc., MoreWithUs - Everyday Jobs, Northern Illinois University, Rochelle Foods, Sonoco Alloyd, Sprint and Weber.

The staff at the DeKalb Illinois workNet Center, 650 N. Peace Road Suite B in DeKalb, are also offering a Job Fair Preparation Workshop on September 18 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm. The workshop is designed to help job seekers get their specific questions answered prior to attending the fair.

The Illinois workNet Center can assist community members with soft skills training such as dressing for success, how to make a positive first impression and fair logistics. Job search assistance, pre-employment assessments in math and reading, and on-site recruitment, interviews and orientations are also services provided. All programs are free to community members.

Job seekers wanting more information on the Fall Job Fair or other programs offered by the DeKalb Illinois workNet Center should contact Linda Kocjan, employer services specialist at the DeKalb Workforce Development Office, at lkocjan@kish.edu or 815-901-0177 ext. 225.

August 29, 2019

Kishwaukee College offers a variety of free classes for English Language Learners, those seeking their High School Equivalency/GED, and people interested in learning about the United States citizenship process. Anyone interested in these courses must attend one of the registrations prior to the start of class. Registration is available on Kish campus and throughout the local community. Learners should schedule at least three hours for registration, orientation and placement testing.

ESL classes are available for beginning, intermediate and advanced learners. The College is also offering a citizenship class for people interested in learning about the U.S. citizenship process. Relevant information for the U.S. Citizenship test, basic interviewing, test-tasking skills, and English vocabulary and grammar will be covered, among other topics. Enrollment for ESL, Spanish ESL and citizenship classes will take place September 5, September 9, September 10 and September 11.

High School Equivalency classes prepare students to take the GED. Subject areas covered in class include reading, writing, social studies, science, math, and the U.S. Constitution. These classes place emphasis on practical application of the subjects and total development of the learner. Enrollment begins October 1. 

In addition to preparing for the GED, a special 8-week Bridge to Healthcare Careers course will run from October thru December. This special GED course will help learners gain tools and experience to prepare for employment in the healthcare field. Upon successful completion, five eligible students will be able to apply for full tuition assistance for the spring semester Phlebotomy Technician course. Tuition assistance is made possible by the Innovative Bridge and Transition Program Grant awarded through the Illinois Community College Board.

The Adult Education and Transition Services department at the College is celebrating National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week September 22-September 28. To learn more about classes including registration dates, times and locations, visit www.kish.edu/adulteducation or contact Administrative Assistant Mari Vesey at mvesey@kish.edu or 815-825-9420.

Page 1 of 4