Kishwaukee College was awarded a U.S. Department of Education Strengthening Institutions Program grant, providing more than $2 million over five years for student success initiatives.

Kish was awarded $2,065,280 in funding for its project Leading Equity in Attainment and Design for Retention and Success (LEADRS). The objective of LEADRS is to improve academic success and completion by providing students with additional academic planning, support, and enhanced online learning. With these improvements, the College will continue its goal of closing achievement gaps for students of color and low-income students.

“Kishwaukee College has made significant progress in helping our diverse student body achieve its academic goals. With the majority of our students being transfer students, it is important for our College to develop guided pathways to aid in the course selection and transfer process. Students will have an easier time identifying and selecting classes that transfer to a bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Laurie Borowicz, President of Kishwaukee College.

Strategies of the LEADRS project include implementing guided pathways, adding additional tutors in classrooms, expanding student success coaching, enhancing online courses, and providing faculty training to focus on classroom technology, online learning, and inclusive classroom environments. Awarded in October, Kish will receive Title III grant funding through September 2028.

To learn more about Kishwaukee College’s equity initiatives, visit

For Immediate Release — The contents of this press release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.


Date posted: November 15, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College awarded $2 million federal Title III grant

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

The Kishwaukee College Continuing Education department will offer seven short-term training programs during the Spring 2024 semester. Kish short-term programs provide students with the skills and training needed to meet local workforce demands. The programs range from 11-20 weeks, allowing students to immediately start a career or build upon their skills with additional training.

Spring 2024 classes are available in online, in-person and hybrid formats. Participants will need access to a computer and the internet to participate in programs with an online component. Some programs include an externship/clinical.

The short-term training programs offered in Spring 2024 are:

Appliance Repair Technician: Jan. 22-April 24 (In-Person)
Appliance repair technicians are skilled professionals trained to assist clients with household appliance installation, troubleshooting and repairs. In-person instruction is from 5:30-9 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays at Kishwaukee College.

Dental Assistant: Jan. 22-April 19 (Online Lecture/In-Person Practice)
Dental assistants are health care professionals who work closely with dentists and dental hygienists to provide quality preventive and corrective dental care and administrative support in dental offices. In-person practice will be conducted from 6-9 pm on three Tuesdays in a local dental office.

Pharmacy Technician: Jan. 22-May 3 (Online)
Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with dispensing prescription medication while performing various other duties in a pharmacy setting. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding is available to those who qualify.

Phlebotomy Technician: Jan. 22-April 5 (In-Person)
Phlebotomists are health care professionals trained to collect, transport, handle, and process blood and other specimens for laboratory analysis using venipuncture and micro-collection techniques. Instruction and in-person practice is from 10 am-12 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at Kishwaukee College. A clinical experience will be offered in a local hospital from March 18-April 5.

Real Estate Broker Pre-License: Jan. 23-April 4 (Online)
Real estate brokers perform many duties in real estate transactions, including marketing homes, establishing escrow accounts, and working to ensure transactions are fair and legal. Online instruction takes place from 6-9 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Sterile Processing Technician: Jan. 22-April 26 (Online)
Sterile processing technicians support patient care services in a health care facility. Technicians are responsible for decontaminating, cleaning, processing, assembling, sterilizing, storing and distributing the medical devices and supplies needed in patient care, especially during surgery. Online instruction is delivered in an asynchronous format.

Veterinary Assistant: Jan. 22-June 14 (Online Lecture/In-Person Practice)
Veterinary assistants are trained to assist veterinarians and veterinary technicians with medical procedures on sick and injured animals. Online/live lectures take place from 6:30-9 pm on Tuesdays, and in-person labs are from 5-8 pm on Thursdays at Ashton Animal Clinic in Ashton. A clinical experience will be offered at a local animal hospital from May 20-June 14.

To learn more or register for Kishwaukee College Short-Term programs, visit

For Immediate Release

Date posted: November 15, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Kish College to offer seven short-term training programs in Spring 2024

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

DeKalb Earns Bond Rating Upgrade

DeKalb has earned a bond rating upgrade reflecting the City’s strong financial health resulting from responsible financial policies and transformative economic development successes.

The upgrade by Moody’s Investors Services, one of the three leading rating agencies, increases the City’s bond rating to A1. Among the City’s credit strengths, Moody’s cites notable growth in the City’s economy from larger scale economic development projects in the ChicagoWest Business Center on the far southside.

In its opinion released Oct. 4, Moody’s credits more than $2 billion in investments from Meta, Amazon, Kraft Heinz and Ferrara Candy for positive trends in both sales and use taxes and property taxes, the City’s main revenue sources.

“Strong development trends will continue to support a stable financial profile going forward,” according to the credit opinion.

Along with economic development, Moody’s credited a strong and improving financial profile for the upgrade. In the review, the City received high scores for available fund balance and liquidity. It is expected the City will end the current fiscal year with general fund reserves of more than $30.4 million.

The City presented to the ratings agency ahead of the issuing of bonds for construction of a fourth fire station to better serve residents and businesses in the southwest quadrant. City Manager Bill Nicklas said the upgrade will likely save taxpayers money, and the benefits extend further.

“The rating upgrade should mean better pricing for the Fire Station #4 bonds,” said Nicklas, “but it also sends an important message to business prospects and state agencies: DeKalb is fiscally strong.”

Other factors cited by Moody’s in the upgrade were the City’s home-rule status and the presence of Northern Illinois University as an anchor of the regional economy. The credit opinion can be viewed here.

Council Supports Continuing Trend of Lowering Property Tax Rate

The DeKalb City Council will continue its commitment to using the rapid economic growth on the southside to reduce the City’s property tax rate.

The 2023 property tax levy estimate supported by the Council on Oct. 23 would lower the City’s tax rate by 9.2 percent from the previous year to 81.4 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation (EAV). That continues a multiyear trend of lowering the City rate, resulting in a nearly 30 percent drop since 2019.

The City is using the new construction in 2023 as an opportunity to further drive down the tax rate. At the same time, the growth from projects including Meta, Ferrara and Amazon is so large that it also provides additional revenue for meeting the City’s state-mandated annual police and fire pension obligations.

“So, we are benefiting as a City from this, but we are also able to lower the tax levy enough that the public is benefiting from this unprecedented EAV,” said Mayor Cohen Barnes (second from right in photo). “That seems like really responsible government.”

All taxing bodies in the City are being encouraged to follow this trend through a series of tax summits convened by Mayor Barnes. Over the next few years, the goal is to lower the combined tax rates of all the taxing bodies, which was over $11 in 2021, to less than $9, providing property tax relief.

“Through this process, the City of DeKalb has tried to provide leadership, and the people sitting in front of me have provided leadership, trying to show that we can grow, we the taxing bodies which would be the beneficiaries of this, but we also have to keep in mind what’s our purpose,” said City Manager Bill Nicklas. “Our purpose is to serve the taxpayers.”

The Council will hold first reading on the tax levy ordinance at its meeting on Nov. 14.

Wessels Welcomed Into DeKalb

Wessels Family Farm Market is being welcomed into the City of DeKalb with a business-friendly approach to its annexation.

Annexation of the property at Sycamore Road and Greenwood Acres Drive was approved by the City Council Oct. 23. It was requested after improvements were made to the building on the site.

Instead of requiring several additional improvements before allowing the annexation, City Manager Bill Nicklas said the business will be allowed to grow into other expenses including a private fence, a more defined parking area and connecting to water and sewer. Mayor Cohen Barnes has been impressed with the investment that has already been made to the property.

“To see how beautiful it looks now, the new roof and the new siding, I think it’s absolutely wonderful and it helps spruce up that corner,” Barnes commented to the Wessels family. “On behalf of Council and City staff, we really appreciate the investment you’re making in our community.”

The Wessels, who have been selling farm-fresh produce and other seasonal items at the property since 2001, brought new life to a building that had been vacant after it has housed a restaurant and then a Harley Davidson dealership.

East Side Business Receives Support; Restaurant Closer to Opening

DeKalb is helping a business on the eastside make exterior improvements while a new downtown restaurant moves closer to opening.

The City Council on Oct. 23 approved a Fund 400 Architectural Improvement Program (AIP) Economic Incentive to Proven Winners for their building at 1600 East Lincoln Highway, which formerly housed a Farm and Fleet store and is now home to several locally-owned businesses.

The business is using an expansion of the AIP program made by the Council to assist businesses outside the TIF district, particularly those on East Lincoln Highway and South Fourth Street. The incentive of $13,935 will help fund new paint on the exterior of the main building, vestibule awnings, additional exterior lighting, and an AED device.

“(Proven Winners) spent a lot of money continuing to invest in that particular property,” said Mayor Cohen Barnes. “It’s nice that we can help make further improvements with them.”

The Council also approved a liquor license for the Flame, a new Greek restaurant planned downtown at 209 East Lincoln Highway. Owner Foti Pappas said the restaurant will add to the dining options that are helping to make downtown DeKalb a destination.

“(It brings) another twist of food to the downtown area,” said Pappas. “The downtown area now has a lot of different varieties of food, which is amazing.”

The Flame will follow this fall’s opening of Burger Naan, an Indian fusion restaurant on North Second Street.

Investment Into Barb City Manor Continues

The City of DeKalb continues its investment in Barb City Manor.

The City Council Oct. 9 approved a $50,000 allocation to repair the boiler at the independent retirement community in the former hospital on South First Street.

City Manager Bill Nicklas said the funding is part of the most recent lease agreement between the City, which owns the historic building, and Barb City Manor, the nonprofit which operates the center.

“We’ve been so lucky to have the management and the volunteer boards which, over the years, have done such a good job of keeping things up,” said Nicklas.

Under the ten-year agreement, the City provides $50,000 annually for capital improvements through 2028. In previous years, the City funding has gone towards replacement of the facility’s two main passenger elevators and modernization of a third elevator.

Date posted: November 6, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on City of DeKalb E-News November 2023

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

For Immediate Release:

Kishwaukee College unveiled its newly renovated welding lab during an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the College.

Photo Caption: Kishwaukee College held an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the College’s newly renovated welding lab. Kish students, faculty and staff were joined by community partners to dedicate the new space.

The College relocated its welding lab to the B-Wing, closer to the Caukin Building and other Career and Technical Education (CTE) program facilities. The new welding lab provides more space, a dedicated classroom, and an improved power supply. The space also allows room for expansion as the demands of the program change to support the local workforce.

“Community colleges are about meeting local needs, and our welding lab is an example of how Kishwaukee College evolves. When the community’s needs change, we change,” said Dr. Laurie Borowicz, President of Kishwaukee College.

Kish’s Fall 2023 welding enrollment is up 20.2% compared to the previous year, following the College’s overall trend of increased enrollment.

“We provide a lot of hands-on training for careers, with welding being one of our growing programs. This lab is nearly four times bigger than the old lab, and there is room to grow,” said Bob Johnson, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Johnson and Dr. Borowicz gave remarks during the ceremony, along with Chase Budziak, Dean; Jerry Smith, Enbridge Inc. Community Ambassador; and Donovan James, Kishwaukee College welding student. James provided student input on the College’s investment in welding and CTE programs.
“I’m thankful the College believes in the welding program and provides this support,” James said. “Kish makes sure we have enough to do what we need to do and learn what we need to learn.”

To learn more about Welding Technology or additional CTE programs at Kish, visit or


Date posted: October 30, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College holds ribbon cutting for new welding facility

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

A community event co-hosted by workNET and Mooseheart Child City & School, Inc.! Open to ALL job seekers. FREE LinkedIn headshots!

November 8, 2023
1:00 – 4:00 PM

Mooseheart Child City & School
255 James J. Davis Drive
Mooseheart, IL 60539

See flyer for more details.

Career & Resource Fair – Nov 8, 2023 – Mooseheart

Date posted: October 25, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Community Career & Resource Fair

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

For Immediate Release:

Kishwaukee College will eliminate several student fees starting in the Spring 2024 semester as the College focuses on cost transparency.

At the October Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees meeting, the Board approved the removal of four of the College’s six fees. The student activity, technology, registration, and lab/studio fees will be eliminated. The two remaining fees — the material and course fees — are under review to determine how they can be removed from student tuition bills. The four fees approved by the Board for elimination will save students an estimated $1 million over a full academic year.

“We want to be as transparent as possible at Kishwaukee College regarding the cost of education. Removing these fees from the total cost of attendance makes it easier for students and their families to plan for funding their education,” said Dr. Laurie Borowicz, President of Kishwaukee College. “Given the financial health of our College, we have the opportunity to look at what we are charging our students and make adjustments.”

Kishwaukee College has improved its financial stability in recent years due to several factors, including increased enrollment, expanded state support for community colleges, and a growing equalized assessed value (EAV) for the Kishwaukee College district. The College has not increased tuition or fee costs for the past four years.

“The elimination of fees is great for our students, but our fiscal responsibility has benefitted our taxpayers too. Because of our strong financial decision-making, Kishwaukee College has been able to lower its tax rate for the past 12 years,” said Bob Johnson, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

For more information on Kishwaukee College, visit


Date posted: October 23, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College commits to student cost transparency by eliminating $1 million annually in fees

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

Curran Contracting is proud to partner with Krusinski Construction Company, General Contractor, on one of North America’s largest CPG distribution centers in DeKalb, IL. We are looking forward to being a part of the continued growth in DeKalb County and our trusted partnerships.

This photo is from ChicagoWest Business Center’s groundbreaking ceremony welcoming The Kraft Heinz Company to the business park!

-Excerpt from the “Curran Connection” e-newsletter

Additional article: Krusinski Construction Building One of the Largest Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Distribution Centers in North America for Kraft Heinz

Date posted: October 18, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Curran Contracting celebrates construction partnership with Krusinski Construction Company on Kraft-Heinz project

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

October 9, 2023

For Immediate Release:
Kish College to offer Therapeutic Massage continuing education classes

The Kishwaukee College Continuing Education department will offer six Therapeutic Massage classes during the 2023-2024 school year. The classes provide Continuing Education Units (CEUs), which measure professional development.

Each class is taught by Julie Kimpan-Freeman on the Kishwaukee College campus, Room B1244. Three-hour classes are $75, and six-hour classes are $150.

Pregnancy Massage — 9 am-4 pm on Friday, Oct. 27, and Friday, March 8 — 6 CEUs
Enhance your knowledge and skills as a massage therapy practitioner in the benefits, guidelines and precautions for prenatal and perinatal massage.

Forearm Massage Techniques — 9 am-4 pm on Friday, Nov. 17, and Friday, April 19 — 6 CEUs
Develop safe clinical massage practices and enhance the knowledge and skills of massage therapy practitioners in forearm techniques and body mechanics.

Kinesiology Taping — 9 am-12 pm on Friday, Feb. 16, and Friday, May 3 — 3 CEUs
Learn the framework for using tape to help stabilize or decompress body parts while understanding the mechanics of body movement.

For additional information, contact Melissa Gallagher at or 815-825-9466. To register, visit


Date posted: October 18, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Kish College to offer Therapeutic Massage continuing education classes

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

Excerpts from The Daily Chronicle:

‘We are in unprecedented economic development that we haven’t seen since the invention of barbed wire’ says DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes


Read the full Daily Chronicle article by C. Lazenby

Date posted: October 9, 2023 | Author: | Comments Off on Retiring business director lauded by local leaders for transforming DeKalb County economy

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations