Photo Caption: Kishwaukee College’s first graduating class of medical assistants pose for a photo during a pinning ceremony. Kish created the Medical Assistant Program to help address the high demand for qualified medical assistants within the local community.

Kishwaukee College graduated its first class of Medical Assistant students during a pinning ceremony on Friday, Dec. 17, at the College. Kish pinned six students before family and friends as recognition for their completion of the Medical Assistant Certificate.

The College’s Medical Assistant program trains students to work in hospitals and other health care facilities where they complete both administrative and clinical tasks. Through collaboration with area medical partners, Kishwaukee College identified a strong need for qualified medical assistants within the local community and started the program in Spring 2021. All six graduates of the initial Medical Assistant class had employment lined up before completing their certificate.

The graduating class includes Asia Brown, Felicia Craig, Shalana Jones, Rebecca Nelson, Kyla Rachas and Mayla Sanders. Each graduate was pinned individually by a friend or family member who had supported the student or acted as a mentor while completing the program.

Medical Assistants work as multi-skilled health professionals in a clinical setting. They need to be able to perform a wide range of tasks in health care, including administrative and clinical duties. Kish prepares students to become fully certified or registered medical assistants.

Fall 2022 applications will be available starting Tuesday, Feb. 15. To learn more about Kish’s accredited Medical Assistant program, visit For more information see the announcement from Kishwaukee College.

Date posted: January 20, 2022 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College graduates first class of medical assistant students

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Please find below updated spring 2022 career fair registration information for Northern Illinois University. With respect and care for our students, faculty, staff, and employers, the University announced its intention to transition spring semester career fairs from in-person to virtual fairs due to continued pandemic-related issues. The announcement noted that if you previously registered for an in-person career fair, you do not need to complete a new registration, and you should have received an email from Diane Hart that asks if you would like us to transfer your registration to the virtual event. If your registration was paid, NIU will be processing refunds for the difference in the registration fee cost.

Internship & Job Fair | Wednesday, February 16, 1-4:30 pm

Virtual via Huskies Get Hired (Symplicity)

Registration Fees:  Standard: $250; Non-Profit/Government: $125; DCEDC & DCNP Members: $0; NIU Departments: $0


Education Job Fair | Monday, February 28, 9:00am-12:00pm

Virtual via Huskies Get Hired (Symplicity)

Registration Fees:  Standard: $150; NIU Departments: $0


Government, Public & Social Services, Health & Wellness Fair | Tuesday, March 8, 1-3:00 pm (new date)

Virtual via Huskies Get Hired

Registration Fees:  Standard: $100; Non-Profit/Government: $25; DCEDC & DCNP Members: $0; NIU Departments: $0


Registration Links:

New employers/contacts to Huskies Get Hired: New employers/contacts to Huskies Get Hired

Current Huskies Get Hired contacts: Current Huskies Get Hired contacts


Point of Contact: Diane L. Hart, Career Fair and Events Specialist |; 815-753-7159 |

Career Services |Northern Illinois University | Division of Academic Affairs

Date posted: January 20, 2022 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU Spring 2022 Career Fairs – Makes the shift to virtual.

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Kishwaukee College’s Community Education program has launched a new Agriculture Workshop Series that highlights various aspects of farming and food production.

The new series features several different classes this summer that will teach participants self-sustaining farming practices, which can be turned into entrepreneurial opportunities. Local experts will explore topics such as vegetable gardening, raising sheep, beekeeping, and more. All courses will take place virtually.

“Food and farming offer a lot of opportunities for our local community,” said LaCretia Konan, Dean of Workforce & Community Education. “These courses allow anyone with an interest in agriculture to take initiative and create a positive impact for themselves and their environment.”

The following courses will be available in the coming weeks:

  • Start Your Edible Garden — Learn how to grow fruits and vegetables in your own backyard. Landscape designer and gardener Katie Powell-Lee will teach the instructor-led courses, which begin Aug. 18, Sept. 15, or Oct. 13. Additionally, a self-paced course can be started at any time. The cost is $126.
  • Hobby Farming: Raising Sheep — Learn the basics of raising sheep on a small-scale farm from instructor Nicole Spiezio-DePaz. The class takes place 6-7 pm Tuesday, Aug. 3, via Zoom. The cost is $8 per person.
  • Why Homegrown and Handmade — Instructor Deborah Niemann will demonstrate the benefits of having a garden, milking goats, and cooking from scratch. The class takes place 6-7 pm Tuesday, Aug. 17, via Zoom. The cost is $8 per person.
  • Hobby Farming: Goat Milk Soap — Jill Franke of Tin Shed Farm in Sycamore will teach the benefits of using and making your own goat milk soap. The class takes place 6-7 pm Wednesday, Aug. 18, via Zoom. The cost is $8 per person.
  • The Bees and Me — Local expert Larry Krengel will provide insights on beekeeping and how to start your own colony. The class takes place 7-8 pm Wednesday, Aug. 18 via Zoom. The cost is $8 per person.


For more information on Kishwaukee College’s Agriculture Workshop Series, or to register, visit or contact Melissa Gallagher, Director of Short-Term Training & Continuing Education, at 815-825-9466 or Additional classes may be added to the series.

Date posted: July 15, 2021 | Author: | Comments Off on Kish debuts Agriculture Workshop Series

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Rep. Tom Demmer & Rep. Jeff Keicher’s Free Employment Readiness Webinar presented by Kishwaukee Community College.

Join us for this FREE webinar.  Learn job search strategies and tips for interviewing success, including how to ace your next virtual employers will be sharing information about their companies and current employment opportunities. Lastly, get your questions answered by experts during the Q&A session. Brochures on state programs will be available.

  • 9:30 – 11:00 am: 

Digital Job Search
Preparing/Succeeding in a Virtual Interview

  • 11:00 am:

Employers: IDEAL INDUSTRIES & Ferrara Candy Q&A

Registration is required!
Register at or
Limit of 500 participants.

For more information, call 815-561-3690 or 815-748-3494

Date posted: June 29, 2021 | Author: | Comments Off on Free Employment Readiness Webinar on July 28th

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Kishwaukee College was selected as one of six community colleges in Illinois to receive a Compeer Financial Agriculture & Rural Initiative Grant, which will provide financial support for technology improvements in the College’s greenhouse facility.

The Kishwaukee College Foundation, which applied for the grant, was awarded $75,000 to help fund technology and equipment upgrades in the greenhouse as part of upcoming planned renovations. The greenhouse, built in 1973, will soon see an additional classroom and improvements to the building’s heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing. The grant from Compeer will supplement technology upgrades for the overall project, which is funded through State and College funds. Kish received an additional $220,000 state grant from the Illinois Capital Development Board for the greenhouse renovations.

Work on the greenhouse will begin in June and is expected to be completed in September. The renovations will enhance hands-on learning and real-world experience for Kish students enrolled in Horticulture or Agriculture programs.

In addition to the grant from Compeer, the Foundation will receive $2,500 a year for the next five years to fund scholarships for students enrolled in the College’s agriculture pathways. Kish was selected based on its agricultural education offerings, agriculture workforce development, and geographic impact. The College offers a variety of agriculture-related programs, including Agribusiness, Horticulture, Precision Agriculture, Diesel Power Technology, and more.

In January, Compeer Financial announced it would commit $1.9 million in grants and scholarships over the next five years to further develop the agricultural workforce. Kish was one of 14 colleges in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to receive funding in the first rounds of grants.

Compeer Financial is a member-owned Farm Credit cooperative serving and supporting agriculture and rural communities in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The Agriculture and Rural Initiative was created by the Compeer Financial Board of Directors to make investments in programs and projects that directly address the needs of farmers and others who work in agriculture.

To learn more about Kish, visit To learn more about Compeer Financial’s Agriculture and Rural Initiative, visit

Date posted: June 28, 2021 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College Foundation receives grant for greenhouse technology upgrade

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

The DeKalb County Enterprise Zone has helped generate $1.1 billion of investment in 44 projects totaling 3,500,000 square feet of development since its inception in 2016.

When the DeKalb County’s Enterprise Zone application was prepared, it was projected that $217 million of investment in 34 projects totaling  2,100,000 square feet of development could be anticipated for the first three years of operation.

Capital investment exceeded projections fivefold.  In addition, over 1,300 permanent full-time jobs are in place or projected from these developments.

These developments included 20 manufacturing and industrial companies, 15 commercial and mixed-use projects, four research & development, technology, and agriculture projects, three contractors, and two professional service firms. The majority of Enterprise Zone projects, 33, were expansions of existing DeKalb County businesses.

These developments were located in all Enterprise Zone communities throughout DeKalb County. In Cortland, DC Trash built a new building for recycling and waste hauling. Natural Polymers remodeled a building for the development and production of sustainable insulation.

In DeKalb, Facebook is building a 907,000 square foot data center on a 500-acre campus at a cost of $800 million. Wehrli Custom Fabrication is building a 100,000 square high-performance diesel and custom metal manufacturing facility. Pappas Development is building the Agora Tower mixed-use development and has completed the Cornerstone DeKalb, Plaza DeKalb, and Isaac Executive Suites projects.

Ferrara Candy Company has completed a 1,222,400 square foot distribution center and a 468,000 square foot packaging center in the ChicagoWest Business Center. Home2 Suites completed an 89-suite Suites Hotel.  Other DeKalb Enterprise Zone projects include Brian Bemis Toyota, SundogIT, SparrowHawk/Solotech, Nestle, and School Toolbox.

In Genoa, Custom Aluminum Products expanded its manufacturing plant, and the International Bureau of Electrical Workers constructed a utility lineman training center. Malcour Development completed a new industrial building housing Service Concepts HVAC. Open Door Café developed a coffee shop and Minify built the Genoa Self Storage facility.

Syngenta has begun construction of a Seeds R&D, Innovation & Customer Experience Center in Malta. The development will include an office, labs, auditorium, visitors center, greenhouses, and warehouse projected to employ 80 research professionals hosting extensive engagement with regional growers.

In Sandwich, Meadowvale completed extensive renovations to a 91,500 square foot manufacturing complex to manufacture premium dairy mixes. Gord Industrial Plastics rebuilt its injection and compression molding plant destroyed by fire.

MLC built a new building for Midwestern Concrete and C Skye Enterprises completed one for Sopris Concrete. G & L Washes remodeled operations as did Angie’s Sugar Buzz Bakery.

In Sycamore, Meijer constructed a new 159,000 square foot superstore employing 150. The Suter completed a major expansion of their shelf-stable and prepared food manufacturing facility followed by the addition of new headquarters offices.

The Illinois Community Credit Union constructed a new main branch building. Seymour of Sycamore constructed a new aerosol paints warehouse, and MorningStar Media Group remodeled a downtown building to expand their full-service marketing business and house Coroco Coffee Roasters. Advanced Family Eye Care renovated office space. Carriage House remodeled commercial apartments and Gateway Storage constructed a mini-storage center.

In Waterman, Conserve FS has begun construction of a major expansion of their AG products manufacturing, sales and services center.

The Enterprise Zone has increased the visibility and competitiveness of DeKalb County in attracting new prospects and inducing local business expansion.  The Enterprise Zone was crucial to Facebook and important to the attraction of 10 other new companies to DeKalb County, including Ferrara Candy, Home2 Suites, Meadowvale, Meijer, Natural Polymers, Service Concepts, Solotech, Sopris Concrete, and Syngenta.

Date posted: June 22, 2021 | Author: | Comments Off on Enterprise Zone Proves to be a Game Changer for DeKalb County

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Kishwaukee College is committed to supporting a strong regional workforce by creating partnerships with local businesses, which in turn provides opportunities for students and job seekers in our communities.

During the June 8 Board of Trustees meeting, LaCretia Konan, Dean of Workforce & Community Education, and Chase Budziak, Dean of Instruction, presented on business-education partnerships over the past year. During FY21, the College assisted more than 250 employers through educational partnerships, including an online job board, on-the-job training, and small business development.

Kish utilizes the College Central Online Job Board, which is a free service that allows local employers to reach Kish students and alumni with open positions. Those seeking jobs have access to local and national postings and can create a portfolio to have employers discover them. During the past year, 227 employers used the online job board with 729 total jobs posted. A total of 268 students used the resource to assist in their career search.

Students at Kish also have a variety of options for on-the-job training through internships, apprenticeships, or other work-study opportunities. Over the past year, 100 Kish students were placed in on-the-job training with 97 local employers. Several businesses helped cover tuition costs for their student-employees, with the goal of hiring the student after they graduate.

Ahmed Elfaki, Kishwaukee College’s Student Trustee, shared he is currently benefitting from a summer internship with Mortenson Construction.

“My internship with Mortenson has been educational and exciting. I get the opportunity to experience what an engineer’s day-to-day activities are like, as well as the many different scopes that take part to complete a construction project,” Elfaki said. “This will have a big impact on my career as I now have hands-on experience that will help me with future internships and job opportunities.”

Local businesses also participate in Advisory Committees, providing information and feedback to ensure program requirements meet industry needs. Kish strives to prepare students for in-demand careers in the region, and advisory committees offer necessary insights to keep up with a changing job market. In FY21, Kish hosted 29 program advisory committee meetings with 78 industry representatives and 66 employers attending.

Through a partnership with the Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College, Kish offers small business development services in the district. In the past year, 52 local businesses were served through 108 hours of small business consulting. Additionally, the partnership hosted 28 small business events with 196 participants.

To learn more about Kish’s programs and services, visit

Date posted: June 17, 2021 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College continues to build business-education partnerships

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News

Facebook DeKalb Data Center broke ground in 2020.  This project is truly a mecca for DeKalb. A landmark project of a 907, 000 square-foot campus and an investment of more than $800 million.  Facebook DeKalb Data Center will have an extensive and profound impact both near and far, for many years to come. It supports jobs, uses new renewable energy resources, and creates opportunities for local suppliers, contractors, and businesses.

First of all, Facebook is committed to hiring locally.  In DeKalb, construction of the Data Center will result in an average of 1,200 construction workers on-site daily during peak construction. Once completed, it will support approximately 100 technical and professional jobs.

Second, Facebook has set a new aggressive goal to reach net-zero emissions in 2030.  It now supports two projects that total 311 MW of wind energy across Illinois and Iowa: the 140 MW wind farm in Grundy County, IA, and the 170 MW wind farm in Morgan County, IL.  Facebook is on track to reach net-zero carbon emissions and 100% renewable energy for the company’s global operations.

Third, Facebook demonstrates being a good community partner in their data center communities and has begun investing in the long-term vitality of DeKalb and the surrounding communities and the residents, through its annual Community Action Grants program. The program is designed to fund projects that use the power of technology for community benefit, connect people online and offline while enhancing STEM education.

DCEDC, DeKalb County businesses, and residents, are all thrilled about the Facebook Data Center.  We look forward to continued collaboration and strengthening our mutual partnership with Facebook.

Thank you for choosing DeKalb for your new home, Facebook.  We are proud to have you here!

To read the full articles please click here.

Date posted: June 3, 2021 | Author: | Comments Off on DeKalb Data Center has a positive impact on local communities

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News Regional Economic Updates

Kishwaukee College Community Education will offer an Illinois Class A CDL Exam prep class from June 7 through July 7. The class takes place from 7 am-4:30 pm on Monday through Thursday at the Kishwaukee College campus. The course will prepare students to pass their CDL permit test and CDL exam, assist with the Department of Transportation Physical and Drug Screening and provide hands-on practice in truck driving skills and on-the-road driving experience.

By earning a CDL, students can follow a quick pathway into a high-paying career. Truck drivers can earn from $40,000 to $60,000 in their first year, including medical and retirement benefits, according to salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is also a robust job network both locally and across the nation. The American Trucking Association reports a shortage of about 60,000 drivers, which could swell to nearly 160,000 by 2028 if current trends continue.

Upon completion of the program, Kishwaukee College can help students with job placement. Kish’s Career Services provides a variety of opportunities through connections with recruiters for regional truck driver companies.

Kish’s Truck Driver Training program is a short-term program that trains students for an in-demand career in four weeks. For students looking for assistance paying for the course, funding is available through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Registration is currently open, and space is limited. For more information, or to register, please contact program director Melissa Gallagher at or visit

Date posted: May 20, 2021 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College to offer CDL Exam Prep class

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations

During the regularly scheduled Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, April 13, the Board reviewed the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) for the College. These funds are federal and state dollars provided to institutions of higher education, to be used for direct student support and College infrastructure in adjusting operations in response to the pandemic.

Since March 2020, the College has increased support, and removed barriers, to assist students with their financial challenges brought on by the pandemic. Support efforts include per-credit-hour COVID-19 Relief Support Payments to students, removal of payment plan enrollment fee, eliminated dropping of students from classes for non-payment, student debt forgiveness, expansion of the Textbook Loan Program, internet support with WIFI hotspots, Chromebook/laptop computer loan program, expansion of the food pantry, and emergency financial support through the Champions Fund.

Starting this summer, registered credit students will receive textbooks and their required digital course materials free from the College through the Textbook Loan Program.

To support a quality remote learning environment for students, the College has invested in technology and other resources to support faculty and staff in the virtual environment during the pandemic and moving forward.

For more information on the College’s response to COVID-19 and HEERF funding, please visit

Date posted: May 5, 2021 | Author: | Comments Off on Kishwaukee College uses Federal and State Relief Funds to Support Students

Categories: DCEDC & Member Organizations Local Development News