Joining Forces: Business Training, Community Education

shutterstock_76890058-618x430

Have you heard? Effective July 1, Parkland College Business Training and Parkland College Community Education will join forces, with the united goal of providing opportunities to transform lives through personal and professional development.

Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is positioned to be a “one-stop” for the community’s various demographics, interests, and needs. Through an array of high-quality, customer-driven programs, the department will provide professional growth, career-enhancing training, workshops, social and travel outings, and personal enrichment opportunities.

Services include workshops for individuals who want to upgrade their job skills or train for a new career; corporate and customized training and consulting for area employers; special programs for the underemployed and unemployed, including the Highway Construction Careers Training Program; the Traffic Safety Program; and enrichment classes for all ages, such as College for Kids, computer skills, health and wellness, home and garden, recreation and leisure, and travel classes.

By joining forces, the new department is positioning itself to be self-sustaining, expanding its team and services, and following best practices for the continuing education industry.  The department’s solid core values allow for collaboration, professionalism, diversity, progress, and excellence in all aspects of day-to-day operations and in the opportunities provided to the community.

If you want to learn specific skills to be more productive in your job, we offer workshops just for you!

Popular business training programs of Interest:

For a full list of workshops for your personal and professional interest, check out www.parkland.edu/businesstraining or call 217/351-2235.

Pride, Honor at 2016 GED Reception

Last Tuesday (June 7), six students participated in a reception honoring our 2016 GED graduates, held in Parkland’s student union cafeteria lounge.

Hosted by Parkland College Adult Education, the reception offered us a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of students who have passed General Education Development, the high school equivalency program, since last June at the Parkland campus.

Each GED recipient wore a cap and gown as they walked across the union’s stage, the action symbolizing the next step in their academic development. They were deservedly proud of their achievements and, in like manner, we were proud of them. Getting a GED is no small feat; a post about last year’s reception can attest to this. Reaching this moment was exciting, as it marked their transition to college or new career opportunities.

The GED reception concluded with refreshments and time to receive personal acknowledgements from friends, family, and Parkland administrators, including President Tom Ramage and Vice Presidents Pamela Lau and Seamus Reilly. The presence of our administrators emphasized the significance of this moment.

Parkland College congratulates our 2016 GED recipients and gives its best wishes for their successful futures.

Brooke Jean, Daniel Carnell, Brittany Coleman, Isabelle Seamon, Shannon Stoeckert, and Amanda Wyatt were honored at the 2016 GED Reception.
Brooke Jean, Daniel Carnell, Brittany Coleman, Isabelle Seamon, Shannon Stoeckert, and Amanda Wyatt were honored at the 2016 GED Reception.

***Interested in obtaining YOUR GED? Our free GED Preparation classes help qualified individuals learn the reading, math, and other skills necessary to pass the GED exam and are tailored to the individual’s level of readiness. Find out more at our web pages or call 217/351-2580 to schedule an appointment.***

[Tawanna Nickens is dean of adult basic education and workforce development at Parkland.]

Sunny and Warm: Study Abroad in Morocco Part 3

Sophomore Del Jacobs, one of several Parkland students immersing themselves in Arabic culture during a three-week trip to Morocco this month, shares her Week Three adventures below. This opportunity came about due to a three-year federal grant Parkland has obtained to boost foreign-language study. In year one of the grant (AY 2015), students taking Portuguese classes were able to study abroad in Brazil last summer.

*******

May 30
MarrakechThis morning we went to the Majorelle Garden, a moorish villa and garden built by Jacques Majorelle in 1931. The garden has 1,800 species of cactus; some look like aliens. The house and grounds were bought by Yves Saint-Laurent. Saint-Laurent collected Berber crafts and household items while he lived in Marrakech. The small studio pictured has been converted into a Berber museum. Marrakech3The Berbers are Moroccan mountain people, some think of European decent, who specialized in crafts such as rugs, jewelry, and clothing.

Marrakech2This afternoon we visiterd the Saadian Tombs built between 1578-1603. They were discovered in 1917 and restored by the Beaux-arts service. There are 60 members of the Saadi dynasty interned there. The wood carving and stucco work is amazing.

Bahia3We also visited the Bahia Palace, which is located on the northern edge of the medina in the Jewish quarter. Bahia2Built between 1859-1873, this is an enormous palace covering 8 hectares. There was no plan; each part of the palace is very different because it was built section by Bahia1section by artisans from all over Africa. They used several materials including Carrera marble, glazed terra cotta tiles, blue and yellow ceramic screens, and painted cedar.

 

June 1
We traveled by bus from Marrakech to Fez and made a stop in Volubilis.Volubilis1

Volubilis is a partially excavated Berber/Roman city located between Meknas and Fez. It was founded in the 3rd century B.C. and is a UNESCO world heritage site. This was the most western part of Africa conquered by the Romans. You can see a family of storks on top of a pilar, the aqueduct, the victory arch, and a mosaic.

Volubilis3         Volubilis2This was the most interesting stop we’ve made so far. The country side is one of the most fertile agricultural areas in Morocco. In this part of Morocco some farmers use modern farming equipment. They grow olives, corn, wheat, grapes, sunflowers and pumpkins. They also raise sheep and use donkeys for transportation. This is a very pretty part of Morocco with gently rolling hills and cypress trees.

June 2
thumbnail_IMG_0319Today we toured Fez. The first picture shows the medina, which is the largest in the world. It has 10 miles of walls, 11 gates, 275 mosques, 400,000 people live there and 80,000 stores.

IMG_0335

 

The gate is called Bab el-Semarine, Gate of the Ferriers, also known as the blue gate. The entrance leads to the food section of the medina.

 

 

thumbnail_IMG_0326

The building shown is the Gregorian Mederssa Attarine dormitory for the nearby ancient university built in 1325.

I had a delicious lamb tagine for lunch. The rest of our day was spent visiting the leather, weaving, and pottery section of the medina. Fez is the most authentically preserved medina in Morocco. It’s certainly the most interesting, I really enjoyed watching all the artisans at workIMG_0333.

We were invited to the Embassy by the public affairs section. There are no pictures of the Embassy due to security issues. Embassies report to the U. S. State Department and employees work for the foreign service.

The Embassy just moved into a new building about a year and a half ago; there is a family of storks living just outside the walls. It’s a beautiful building and has been certified LEED gold. The building was constructed by local contractors to a certain stage, then certified cleared contractors take over. Certain construction jobs must be completed by US citizens. The walls, doors, and glass are extra thick, it takes muscle to open the doors. There is tight security, we could only enter with our passports, no bags or cell phones.

Working for the foreign service sounds like a lot of fun, but you have to like change. Employees must continually work their way up the ladder and must tenure in 5 years or they are out. Posts last 2-3 years and employees are expected to be interested enough to do their own research on the next country they will work in. Employees can and should transfer between sections; some of the sections are management, political, and economic. It’s hard on spouses because if they want to work they must find it on their own or telecommute. The State Department provides housing based on family needs such as size or pets. If you pay 50% of parents’ expenses, they can live with you. An employee should be outgoing, work well with others (teamwork is essential), and be able to network with known and unknown people.

We listened to three employees about their experiences in the foreign service. Although we didn’t get a tour of the building it was certainly an interesting day and an honor to be invited. Our picture will be on the U S Embassy Rabat Facebook page.

June 3
We have reached the end of our trip. I loved everything about Morocco.

The food was outstanding. There was only one thing I didn’t like, a dessert that was made with 14 spices, almonds, and raisins typically served by the Berbers.

The people were really nice; they are just like us in their private lives. The women do cover up in public, but I noticed that the younger generation seems to be modernizing; they wear western clothes. Some wear scarves, but a lot don’t. I never felt uncomfortable while walking, but I was always with someone after dark.

Morocco is an inexpensive country to visit. One US dollar equals ten Dirhams. You get the best deals on leather, pottery, and woven goods. The only difficulty I can see is transportation. To get from city to city, you must have a car. Morocco is putting in a high-speed rail system, but it won’t be completed for several years.

I recommend this country for anyone who is looking for a non-western cultural experience. There is so much to see and do, I think you should plan to stay at least 10 days.

Happy travels!
Del

________________

***For the upcoming academic year (2016-2017), Parkland’s foreign-language grant program focuses on learning Chinese, with an opportunity to visit the country of Taiwan in summer 2017. Study abroad scholarships will be offered for this country, too, for degree-seeking students finishing the language course. For more information, give me a call!

Jody Littleton
Associate Professor, Communication
Study Abroad Coordinator
Parkland College
217/351-2532

 

 

 

 

Sunny and Warm: Study Abroad in Morocco Part 2

Sophomore Del Jacobs, one of several Parkland students immersing themselves in Arabic culture during a three-week trip to Morocco this month, shares her Week Two adventures below. This opportunity came about due to a three-year federal grant Parkland has obtained to boost foreign-language study. In year one of the grant (AY 2015), students taking Portuguese classes were able to study abroad in Brazil last summer.

*******

May 23

Chefchaouen, the blue city
Chefchaouen, the blue city

Today, we traveled to Chefchaouen, also known as the blue city of Morocco. It’s located about 80 miles southeast of Tangier. The blue paint has a mosquito repellent in it. We walked from the top of the hill to the bottom. This is definitely a shopper’s haven. We spent the day shopping and stopped at Darkoum for lunch.

May 24
Moroccofood3Moroccan food is really good; so far everything I have tried here is excellent. The picture shows tajin, which is both the name of the vessel and the dish. Tajin can be made with beef, lamb, chicken, or fish. There are two kinds here, chicken and fish. The sides are a green salad, radishes, olives and bread. There is also a dish of pears and bananas.

Moroccofood1The bread is used as the utensil. You break a bite size piece off and scoop the food on to the bread and pop it into your mouth. Moroccans eat a lot of bread. We have been given at least 10 kinds so far, it’s eaten at every meal. I have had so much bread that I can’t eat anymore. I’ve asked to use a spoon instead.

The most popular drink is tea. It’s made in a pot that holds 5 to 6 small glasses. They add 8 tablespoons of sugar to the pot and a handful of mint. Our host mother told us that she goes light on the sugar and only adds 7 tablespoons. Their tablespoon is bigger than ours, so you can imagine how sweet it is. It’s so sweet that my ankles were swollen. I’ve had to ask that my tea be made without sugar, just the mint.

May 26
IMG_0145Today, we took a drive west of Tangier. We took a short camel ride, which was okay with me because the fun part is getting up and down. One day, I will return to Morocco and do a camel safari in the Sahara.IMG_0157

Next, we stopped at the cave of Hercules. It’s the most famous site in Tangier. The cave walls were carved out into small wheels that were used to grind grain.

Our last stop was a beautiful seaside town called Asilah. It would be the perfect place to retire. It’s quiet, and all the buildings are white with blue doors. As you walk around town, at almost every turn there is a mural. Many artists and musicians live in the town, and they hold art and music festivals every year.  IMG_0159

We had a lovely fish lunch before driving back to Tangier. It was a very nice day!

 

 

 

May 28
Saturday we drove from Tangier to Marrakech, an 8-hour drive.  The scenery was rural and we saw many subsistence farms which had various types of vegetables. The farmers were plowing the small fields with a single blade plow, pulled by either a donkey or a team of cows.Rabat

We broke the drive by stopping in Rabat to see the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. The mausoleum was commissioned by his son Hassan II and designed by Vietnamese architect Vo Toan who used Carrara marble. The candelabra is made of pierced and engraved copper. This was a beautiful stop; the entrance was guarded by two guards in ceremonial dress, on horseback.  Bouznika

We stopped in Bouznika for lunch. The road leading to town was loaded with restaurants. We ate at Restaurant Dayga and had several types of roast meat including lambDayga. All of us loved the food and we finished everything which must have been 16 pounds of meat. Lunch cost $160 for the 16 of us, including beverages.

________________

***For the upcoming academic year (2016-2017), Parkland’s foreign-language grant program focuses on learning Chinese, with an opportunity to visit the country of Taiwan in summer 2017. Study abroad scholarships will be offered for this country, too, for degree-seeking students finishing the language course. For more information, give me a call!

Jody Littleton
Associate Professor, Communication
Study Abroad Coordinator
Parkland College
217/351-2532

Sunny and Warm: Study Abroad in Morocco Part 1

Sophomore Del Jacobs, one of several Parkland students immersing themselves in Arabic culture during a three-week trip to Morocco this month, shares her Week One adventures below. This opportunity came about due to a three-year federal grant Parkland has obtained to boost foreign-language study. In year one of the grant (AY 2015), students taking Portuguese classes were able to study abroad in Brazil last summer.

*******

May 16
We arrived in Tangier by ferry in the afternoon. The weather is similar to Southern California, warm (about 77 degrees) and dry with a slight wind. We transferred by bus to the American School of Tangier, where we were met by our host families.

May 18
Our host family consists of the father Saad, mother Nisrin, oldest daughter Lina, youngest daughter Ritaje, and two-year-old son Islam. They are a happy family, and Nisrin is a very pleasant woman. She has been making us traditional meals and they are really tasty.

stairwell - MoroccoThey live in a four-story house. The first floor is a combination garage and den. The second floor is where our family lives; another related family lives on the third floor,  and they rent the fourth floor to a single woman. The two families leave their doors open and run between the two homes.

This picture is the staircase leading from the front door to the second floor home. As you can see, it’s lined with beautiful tile. There is no air conditioning, but the house is cool to cold, and you forget how hot it is outside.

May 20
This is my new djalaba and head scarf. The djalaba is basically a coat that the women wear when they go outside. It slips over your clothing; if it has a zipper, it’s not authentic. The djalaba comes in a rainbow of colors and designs. It can be embroidered in many different patterns, and it may or may not have crystals. It comes in various weights suitable for any time of year.

My djalaba and scarf
My djalaba and scarf

May 21
Today all the girls went to the local hammam. A hammam is a spa-like experience.

Doors to the hammam.
Doors to the hammam.

Everybody sits in the sauna for 10 minutes. Instead of sitting on wood, you sit on marble. It’s very hot. Then the woman comes in and rubs a form of henna all over your body. Off to the next room; you lie down on a heated marble table and they scrub your whole body until you’re raw. You move over to a stool and they rinse you off and wash your hair. Then, back on the table, they cover you in a light mud and give you a massage. They rinse you off again, you get dressed and then get your hair blow dried.

The whole process is wonderful. I feel clean and soft and all for $10. Moroccan women go to the hammam once a week.

Henna tattoos
Henna tattoos in Morocco.

Henna is best applied after you have been to the hammam. Our host mother arranged for a professional henna artist to come to the home and tattoo all five women on our trip.

The artist applied the henna with a syringe and the process took about 30 minutes. We all had both hands and one foot done. After the henna has been applied and dried for about a half hour, the tattoo is dabbed with a mixture of sugar and tea. It takes about an hour for the henna to dry and set. The longer you let the henna stay on your skin, the darker the stain. Typically it’s best to wait three hours.

 

 

________________

***For the upcoming academic year (2016-2017), Parkland’s foreign-language grant program focuses on learning Chinese, with an opportunity to visit the country of Taiwan in summer 2017. Study abroad scholarships will be offered for this country, too, for degree-seeking students finishing the language course. For more information, give me a call!

Jody Littleton
Associate Professor, Communication
Study Abroad Coordinator
Parkland College
217/351-2532