Kish CareerLink ready for new school year
Kish CareerLink is the area’s online workforce development program that gives students a “step-up,” by providing career exploration and allowing them inside access to fields about which they may be interested in learning. The program is a unique, collaborative effort between Kishwaukee College’s Career Center, the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation (GREDCO) and the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) and sponsored by many businesses and community organizations throughout Ogle and DeKalb Counties.
The need for a program like Kish CareerLink that bridges the academic and the work world has become more critical in today’s economy. A near constant refrain in the media from business and industry across the nation is the difficulty in finding skilled employees to fill position openings. Parents and students, meanwhile, face rising education costs which does not allow students the opportunity to take extra time attending college, to investigate careers, or to change programs. Knowing beforehand what a career entails can streamline the academic path.
With the cooperation of the local school districts in Ogle and DeKalb Counties, along with many local employers – 52 over the spring semester – supporting and participating in the program, Kish CareerLink, has become an innovative way to bridge the knowledge and skill gap for young people who will be the future workforce. Kish CareerLink allows area middle, high school and college students to explore occupations and careers via an online community of business and industry, educators, and career choice professionals. Once registered with the program, students can receive information and mentoring from professionals in their career area of interest.
Michelle Allen, Coordinator of the Career Center at Kishwaukee College, explained, “Often students do not really know what happens day-to-day in a career field. Experiences offered through Kish CareerLink allow students to see firsthand what working in the field means.”
Rochelle Township High School students, Ben Eggleston and Ryan Weise, participated in Kish CareerLink last May, visiting Driv-Lok in Sycamore. Eggleston, who is interested in pursuing engineering, found that the experience clarified and affirmed his career choice. “I really appreciated the opportunity to job shadow at Driv-Lok,” he said. “It gave me good insight into both mechanical and civil engineering.” Eggleston will be studying engineering at Northern Illinois University this fall.
Ryan Weise hopes to own his own business someday and his experience gave him insight into running a business. “Spending time at Driv-Lok gave me a real world look at what it takes,” he said. Part of the students’ day was spent with Gary Seegers, President and CEO of Driv-Lok. “Ben and Ryan spent a half day with five of our production and engineering professionals. They were well-prepared and asked excellent questions. They left that day with appreciation and enthusiasm about their futures.”
Gary Seegers is thrilled and impressed with the Kish CareerLink program. “We at Driv-Lok look forward to offering such experiences as Ben and Ryan had to many more of our area students. We prefer to hire locally and hope offering these experiences lead to fulfilling careers in our company for many of our local students.”
Kish CareerLink is an innovative, collaborative effort between Kishwaukee College’s Career Center, GREDCO and DCEDC to assist area young people with career exploration and experiences through interactions with local business and industry. Job shadowing is one aspect of the program that allows students to get a first-hand look at careers they may be interested in. Pictured during a day of job shadowing last May are Rochelle Township High School students Ben Eggleston and Ryan Weise with Gary Seegers, President and CEO of Driv-Lok in Sycamore.