L&C Adult Education Department Hosts YouthBuild USA

Former YouthBuild Student

Former YouthBuild and current L&C Restoration Ecology student Andrew Middleton shares the opportunities YouthBuild provide him with conference goers. Photos by Louise Jett, Media Specialist

Hello all!  Welcome to another riveting Building Futures blog post!

YouthBuild USA is a membership organization that has built a robust network of 260 urban and rural YouthBuild programs in 46 states. They are sponsored and managed by local nonprofits, community colleges (including Lewis and Clark Community College), and public agencies whose primary funding source is the US Department of Labor (DOL) through the authorized federal YouthBuild program administered by the Employment and Training Administration at DOL. YouthBuild USA provides training and technical assistance, leadership development, funding for innovative program enhancements, and advocacy for these programs.

One of the initiatives that YouthBuild USA has been leading is the Postsecondary Education (PSE) Initiative, which has been supported by various foundations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Gap, over the past 7 years.

This spring’s PSE conference was hosted in partnership with Lewis and Clark Community College’s Building Futures YouthBuild program, which focuses on creating strong graduate support systems and interventions to increase the percentage of YouthBuild students completing high school and postsecondary credentials in the Alton/Godfrey area.

Fifty-sixty YouthBuild program directors, transition coordinators, instructors and postsecondary partners from across the nation attended this event. As with past conferences, Lewis and Clark Community College hosted workshops tailored to the learning needs of different groups of YouthBuild and postsecondary practitioners.

The event began Tuesday, April 26, at the Scott Bibb Center in Alton and was led by Building Futures students to highlight the College’s YouthBuild project and its various components. On Wednesday, conferees experienced Lewis and Clark’s beautiful campus and were exposed to our talented faculty and leadership. We also treated attendees to a college tour that highlighted initiatives which promote postsecondary success for adult education and YouthBuild students. The event closed at the Atrium hotel in Alton, Thursday morning.

Lewis and Clark Community College and the Building Futures YouthBuild AmeriCorps program hosted the PSE convening as an opportunity to showcase the College and the talents of its faculty and staff as well as the promising practices Lewis and Clark uses to move students from Adult Education into college.

“It was an honor to be joined by other YouthBuild Programs across the nation to address the importance of post-secondary education placement for our opportunity youth,” L&C YouthBuild Director Sabrina Davis said. “We worked in collaboration with L&C faculty and leadership to deliver information that was both informative and inspiring. I was proud to be a part of a college that supports the YouthBuild mission and all students gaining access to higher education.”

Lewis and Clark Community College hosting the 2016 PSE Conference holds great significance. In today’s climate the State of Illinois has been experiencing turmoil as legislators and Governor Bruce Rauner are unable to compromise and agree on a state budget. The result of this stalemate at the Illinois State Capitol is the beginning of the dissolution of our state’s human service and higher education infrastructures.

Many Adult Education departments at community colleges across the state have had to downsize while others have completely shut down. Through effective leadership and support from Lewis and Clark Community College, the Adult Education Department has been able to avoid personnel layoffs and sustain programs offered throughout the college’s district.

The PSE Conference was held shortly after Lewis and Clark Community College Adult Education faculty and students visited the state capitol for “Legislative Awareness Day,”  which was held April 12 in Springfield.

Legislative Awareness Day

Illinois State Senator William R. Haine poses with students and staff members from L&C’s Adult Education department during Legislative Awareness Day, April 12.

“It is exciting to see students and staff come together from across the state to demonstrate their support of this great cause and to feel a part of the legislative process,” said Associate Dean of Adult Education Val Harris and Co-Chair of IACEA’s Legislative Committee. “Legislative Awareness Day is a wonderful demonstration of our association’s advocacy efforts.”

Even participates agree with Val, and the crowd was engaged throughout the event, at times chanting “Adult Ed Works!”

Until the next time, signing off……
Pat Mays
YouthBuild Coordinator

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
– Dr. Martin Luther King.


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