Category Archives: Careers

Top Four Reasons to Earn an Online Business Degree

Thinking of studying to earn a degree in business? You might consider the benefits of taking your classes online! Parkland College offers business degrees, certificates, and classes you can take completely online. Here are the four top reasons an online business degree might work for you:

Flexibility. People are busy and their time is valuable to them. Online courses allow students to work at times that are convenient for them and stay on schedule to graduate, so they can advance their careers. Here is what a couple of our students had to say:

Parkland allows me to complete an entire degree by taking online classes. This is important to me as an adult with a full-time career.Robert M.

I only needed a few courses to complete my degree, and Parkland online courses have fit my busy schedule perfectly. I will be graduating this spring rather than having to take summer classes. I appreciate the freedom that online classes provide! – Julie P.

Opportunity. Parkland College prides itself with transferring students to top universities to continue their degrees, and with preparing students to move directly into the workforce. Local employers tout the quality of Parkland graduates.:

It has been my pleasure to hire many Parkland students over the last five years for the U of I Community Credit Union. These students possess the ability to adapt and learn their environment along with contributing to the team in their departments. Parkland students accept the challenge of learning and appreciate the environment in a workplace that allows them to excel. – UICCU staffer

Support. Parkland offers the same quality education and support to its online students that it offers at its campus. Our online students notice our commitment to our systems; they also notice our employees’ commitment to them.

They [Parkland] are continuing to update their systems for students to stay up on what is going on in the world.

Parkland staff is always helpful and knowledgeable whenever I have questions. When taking classes, I always feel as if the professors want you to succeed.

Affordability. Last, but certainly not least, Parkland students have the business savvy to notice a good deal when they see it.

I feel that the tuition is reasonable for all that a student really gets at Parkland, which includes the right education and tools I need to succeed in the workforce.

Parkland College’s online business apply to a variety of degree and certificate programs that can be completed without coming to a campus classroom. So, GO AHEAD, invest in yourself!

[Lori Wendt is the learning management system specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland College.]

Connect with Employers

Parkland Career Services hosts a variety of employers on campus throughout the semester in the Student Union cafeteria hallway between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Employers are looking for Parkland students and alumni!  Register for free on the College Central Network to view local, state, and national job postings in a variety of disciplines.

Don’t think you’re qualified for a position? The key skills listed below are qualifications you may not have thought about. You’ve likely had a chance to practice several of these in the classroom, through volunteer experience, or with jobs you’ve held.

  1.  Communication skills that demonstrate verbal, written, and listening abilities.
  2. Computer aptitude based on the level required for the position being filled.
  3. Team spirit, which involves working cooperatively with a variety of people and treating others with respect.
  4. Basic math and reading skills.
  5. Interpersonal skills, allowing you to relate to diverse coworkers and manage conflicts.
  6. Organizational skills, so that you can plan and complete multiple tasks in a timely fashion.
  7. Problem-solving skills, including the ability to think critically and identify and solve problems.
  8. Flexibility and adaptability, to handle change in the workplace.
  9. Personal traits such as a positive attitude, motivation, integrity, honesty, and leadership potential.
  10. Dependability and a strong work ethic!

Career Services is located within Counseling Services in Room U267, Follow us on Pinterest and check out our website.  Call us at 217/351-2219 or email careerservices@parkland.edu.

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Career Services.]

 

Mayo Clinic to Visit Parkland Surgical Tech

Exciting opportunities are happening this spring for Parkland College Surgical Technology students!

The world-renowned Mayo Clinic is flying a recruitment team in later this month to pay a visit to our students, just one of several companies that have contacted us this month for access. Others include UnityPoint Health Group, which owns nine hospitals including Methodist, Proctor, Pekin, and others throughout Illinois and Iowa. Next week, our students will meet with Vantage Outsourcing, which outsources eye surgical equipment and techs from its base in Effingham and 10 satellite locations across the country.

It’s no surprise that top clinics and medical suppliers are seeking out Parkland College Surgical Technology graduates to fill their in-demand jobs. Our program is among the top in the nation for graduate success rates on the National Certifying Board exam. For four years running, Parkland has achieved a 100 percent pass rate, while the national pass rate for this exam is around 70 percent!

Graduates passing the national exam to become a certified surgical technologist (CST) demonstrate an understanding of the basic competencies for safe patient care in the operating room. These companies want highly skilled surgical technologists, and they know they can get them from Parkland College. Mayo Clinic already has one of our grads on its transplant team.

The surgical technologist serves as an integral part of the surgical team, standing next to and across from the surgeon during all surgical procedures. He or she is either

  • handling the instrumentation and the medications for the patient
  • helping handle tissue, or
  • troubleshooting anything that may arise.

We are credentialed professionals and vital surgical team members.

Guess what? This career field can offer a great job for you, too! In fact, Parkland’s Surgical Technology Program has a 100 % job placement rate. A lot of jobs are out there for these skills, both locally and nationally.

If you would like to learn more about a career as a surgical technologist, just let me know!

Carolyn Ragsdale, Program Director and Faculty
Surgical Technology at Parkland College
cragsdale@parkland.edu
217/373-3746

Applied Technology Student/Parent Information Night

Parkland College’s state-of-the-art technical training programs lead to high-tech careers! Some programs even guarantee 100% job placement for successful graduates.

Want to learn more about these cutting-edge programs and the careers available?

Attend our Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies Student/Parent Information Night on Wednesday, February 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Parkhill Applied Technology Center (T building).

This event is free to attend and open to high school juniors and seniors. Bring your families to check out our hands-on instructional labs, meet our faculty and area employers, and learn how you can begin a well-paying career you love with just two years (or less!) of training. Featured career areas include:

  • agriculture
  • collision repair
  • diesel power
  • HVAC
  • precision agriculture
  • land surveying
  • automotive technology
  • construction
  • horticulture
  • electrical control systems
  • industrial technology

Ready to sign up? Visit the Ag/EST SPIN website. Contact Aimee Densmore at agest@parkland.edu or 217/373-3838 with questions.

[Aimee Densmore is program manager for Parkland’s Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies department.]

Phi Theta Kappa: Exploring Innovation in the Local Community

Below, Phi Theta Kappa honor society invites anyone interested in entrepreneurship to attend next week’s FREE innovation events. LaTianna Dumas, a 2015 Urbana High School graduate and president of Parkland’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, extends the invitation.

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Are you interested in learning how local innovators developed unique and successful business ventures? Do you dream of a nontraditional career path that will allow you to go where your passion and creativity can take you? Phi Theta Kappa can help you explore these concepts of innovation, to help you turn your dreams into reality and success!

Phi Theta Kappa, the official international honor society of two-year colleges, recognizes the academic success of community college students and builds the leadership and professional skills of its members. In addition, Phi Theta Kappa builds camaraderie and compassion within community colleges. Parkland’s local chapter, Alpha Psi Eta, features a student-run officer team overseen by their advisor, Professor Lori Garrett. Their current focuses are engaging Parkland students from different backgrounds, contributing to the local community, and exploring their current Honors Study Topic, “Global Perspectives: How the World Works.”

Parkland’s chapter is researching the roles of individualism and collectivism in fostering business innovation. There are numerous facets to innovation, and the innovative process varies greatly depending on the creators and the corporate and societal structure around them. As a culmination of their research process—a model called “Honors in Action”—Phi Theta Kappa is hosting a series of three presentations featuring local business innovators from right here in Champaign-Urbana!

The series, “How to Build a Business,” runs from Monday, December 5 through Wednesday, December 7 at noon each day in Room D244. Attendees will hear local entrepreneurs discuss their businesses, their inspiration, how they got started, and how they turned their ideas into success. Everyone is invited to attend these one-hour talks and perhaps gain some inspiration of your own.

Here is the lineup:
Monday, December 5 PandaMonium Doughnuts: fueling Champaign-Urbana’s doughnut cravings (free doughnuts to the first dozen attendees!)
Tuesday, December 6 CU Community Fab Lab: creativity through collaboration
Wednesday, December 7 Cracked Food Truck: created for students, by students

To learn more about Phi Theta Kappa or this series, contact chapter president LaTi Dumas at latianna.dumas@yahoo.com. You may also contact chapter advisor Lori Garrett at lgarrett @parkland.edu.

 

[Hilary Valentine is associate director for Parkland College Marketing and Public Relations.]

 

 

Three Good Reasons to Take an Online Course

Usually, when you see this headline, you expect to see reasons like “greater convenience” or “lower costs” or “a more comfortable learning environment.” And while all of these are true, here are three reasons to take an online course you might not have considered.

1. Technology education. Most, if not all students will be working with “others” sometime in their future careers. To be successful, the use of technology is very important. Taking online courses now at Parkland College helps prepare you to communicate with others using today’s technology, including virtual meetings and collaborations through email and social media devices. Business and management instructor Mark Kesler says he encourages all of his students to be comfortable in the online learning environment: “I highly recommend all my students take at least one online class before they leave Parkland.”

2. Cultural diversity. Students all around the world take Parkland’s online courses. By enrolling in an online course, you get the chance to meet students from other countries. Students benefit mutually from learning about each others’ cultures and educational and life experiences. Often, you can get a “study abroad” experience without leaving the comfort of your own home.

3. Career skill-building. Taking an online class requires discipline, punctuality, and self-motivation, all excellent skills to have in the workforce. Online courses create a solid foundation that prepares you for your next step, whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution or starting your career.

So, while online courses are recommended for their quality instruction, transferability, and affordability, they offer so much more than just that for students. Online courses can provide a broad experience that shapes the future of your employment and life goals.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead, sign up for an online class today!

[Lori Wendt is the learning management system specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland College.]

***Parkland celebrates National Distance Learning Week, Nov. 7-11.***

PRECS: A new opportunity for community college students

How does the environment affect plant and animal development? An exciting new research opportunity for community college students coming to Parkland College this summer will give students a look at some of the answers.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-27-14-pmCalled PRECS, or Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students, the program is designed to provide community college students with authentic research experiences in the area of phenotypic plasticity, the phenomenon of a single genotype producing multiple phenotypes depending on environment.

Parkland’s Dr. C. Britt Carlson and Dr. Nathan Schroeder of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the program’s creators, recently announced that PRECS will be up and running May 24 to July 26, 2017. PRECS was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Overview

The 10 community college students who will be chosen to participate in PRECS will be paired with research mentors at the University of Illinois, working on such projects as:

  • the interaction between genotype and ozone pollution on maize growth
  • the effect of environmental stress on neuroanatomy
  • the interactions of genes and environment on fish behavior

1) Boot Camp
To tailor to community college students, who may not have had any research experience and relatively few college-level science courses, PRECS starts with a 2-week “boot-camp” to prepare students to conduct research at the University of Illinois.

2) Research Immersion
After this preparation, students enter an 8-week research immersion program at the University of Illinois.

3) Presentations
Students will then present their research at their home community college as well as at an undergraduate research symposium on the University of Illinois campus.

Program Benefits

Participation in a program like PRECS is a great way for students to gain experience, create new contacts, explore future careers, and build their resumes:

  • Throughout the program, student participants will gain hands-on experience, learning while they explore the world of research science. PRECS provides students with the background needed to be successful in a research laboratory and an opportunity to use those skills doing real science at the University of Illinois.
  • Participants will work closely with UIUC researchers and other community college science students, creating a network within their professional field.
  • Participation in this program will be a great resume-builder, as students will be able to show future academic institutions and employers evidence of their expertise in the sciences and their ability to take initiative, work independently, and work collaboratively.

PRECS also provides students with a $5,500 stipend for participation in the program. Housing, food, and travel (if needed) allowances are also available.

Eligibility

Students interested in participating in PRECS must be attending a community college, be a US citizen or permanent resident, and have completed General Biology I (General Chemistry I is also preferred). PRECS encourages applications from students from underrepresented groups.

Applications for summer 2017 are due March 15. For more information on PRECS, please visit precs.igb.illinois.edu.

[Dr. C. Britt Carlson is an associate professor in chemistry at Parkland College.]

Open House: Time to Check Out Parkland College

So many exciting things are happening at Parkland this fall, we just have to have an Open House to show the place off!

Friday, October 28 is a perfect time to come and check out Parkland. From noon to 2 pm that day, there will be student services and academic members at tables in the Student Union atrium to explain their programs.

Plus, new this year, the Anatomage and new Earth Science Labs will be open to show what cutting edge tools look like. Anatomage is a digital dissection table that medical schools are beginning to use to train students. The touchscreen monitor provides three different individuals that students can explore in the 3D environment. Meanwhile, the Earth Science lab will feature an augmented reality sandbox (ARS), where students can learn how to read and interpret topographical maps in 3D.

From noon to 3 pm that same day, our Health Professions department is featuring all their programs, both in the L and H wings. The H wing on Mattis Avenue includes our Massage Therapy, Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Paramedic, Medical Assisting, Certified Nursing, and Nursing programs. Back at the main campus, the L wing will best suit those students interested in Vet Tech, Dental Hygiene, Radiologic Tech, Surgical Technology, and Respiratory Care. It’s definitely possible to visit both locations in the same day if you are interested in more than one program.

The Open House is a low-stress way of exploring Parkland College, with tours every 20 minutes and plenty of people on hand to answer your questions. In addition, there will be breakout sessions for financial aid, the Parkland Pathway to Illinois, and the first-year experience at Parkland.

You can RSVP for the Open House at right here and let us know you’re coming!

[Mary Kay Smith is the student services advisor for Parkland’s  Admissions and Records office.]

Why Parkland Land Surveying is Top Trainer

If you’re looking for one of the nation’s top land surveying educators, look no further than Parkland College. We recently earned the 2016 NCEES Surveying Education Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Just 10 universities or technical institutes across the country won this inaugural award, and Parkland was the sole Illinois school earning the distinction.

So what makes our Construction Design Management: Land Surveying program an important choice for those pursuing professional licensure in surveying? I asked 2014 program graduate and Army veteran Jim Harpole, now project manager at JLH Land Surveying Inc. in Plainfield, to share his perspective on that. Here’s what Jim had to say.

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Strong foundation, ideal environment. The Land Surveying AAS program gave me the strong foundation I needed to succeed in my surveying career. Thanks to the wide range of topics and challenging curriculum, I was given an opportunity to experience different survey applications and an insight into the possibilities that a career in land surveying offers. The Parkland College campus is well-suited for the application and practice of land surveying.

Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.
Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.

Real-world experience. I especially benefited from the many off-campus projects that the program undertakes, projects like creating topographic surveys for the Monticello Railway Museum and establishing the photogrammetric control network for Champaign and Piatt counties. We even did the property boundaries for a few Habitat for Humanity projects in Monticello.

Students in the program also work with various types of software platforms and surveying equipment in current use. The experience that Parkland graduates possess greatly improves their marketability and brings recruiters from all over the Great Lakes region.

Reaching out, giving back. With the average age of licensed surveyors somewhere in the upper 50s, the land surveying profession is currently facing a large age gap, due to both the increase in educational requirements and a lack of public outreach to bring in more young people. The Parkland College Land Surveying program continues to play a vital and leading role in Illinois and the surrounding area by reaching out to high school programs; supporting the Boy Scouts of America by hosting a surveying merit badge; and assisting with logistics and judging for Illinois FFA sectional and state agricultural mechanics competitions, hosted annually on the Parkland campus.

Parkland also works with the University of Illinois’ Engineering program, which accepts CIT 255 Engineering Surveying course credit from Parkland as junior/senior engineering credit.

Helpful faculty and staff. I had such a great experience while at Parkland. Every instructor I had during the two years I spent on campus was always approachable and willing to set aside their time to assist me in understanding the coursework. As a student veteran, I was especially pleased with the service I received from the Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.

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***For more about the Construction Design and Management: Land Surveying AAS degree and certificates visit parkland.edu/academics/departments/est/construction.aspx***

[Todd Horton is program director for the Construction Design and Management programs at Parkland College.]

HS Students Invited to Try Ag/Engineering/Tech Jobs

Regional high school juniors and seniors will soon compete in pit crew contests, spark plug challenges, carpentry contests, and other hands-on events introducing future career options in agriculture, engineering, and related technologies.

The annual Parkland College Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies Open House is happening Friday, October 14.

Parkland’s state-of-the-art lab spaces will host the day’s events. The Parkhill Applied Technology Center, the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center, and the Construction Education Alliance (Parkland on Mattis) simulate on-the-job conditions using industry-recognized equipment.

Students will choose two innovative sessions from automotive; collision repair; diesel power; electrical power; industrial technology and welding; construction management; engineering science; and agriculture, precision ag, and horticulture. Each session will last 40 minutes and provide a hands-on, career-exploration activity.

High schools are encouraged to bring groups of interested students. However, parents/guardians are also invited to bring their high schooler to the event should the local high school choose not to participate. Every participant will receive a free T-shirt and lunch.

Please visit www.parkland.edu/agestopenhouse for more information and to register. Registration is required by September 28.

Drones for Business: Big Option in Small Package

If you use drones (or have thought of using them) for your business, you may not be aware of recently established federal regulations, known as Part 107, that could benefit you. These FAA UAS rules allow businesses to operate drones for commercial purposes.

What does Part 107 mean for you and your drone?

  • Drone operators must be certified under the new UAS Operator certification.
  • Drone operators no longer need to file a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)
  • All aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs.
  • Flight is allowed under 400 feet above ground level. If flying within 400 feet of a structure, flight can be up to 400 feet above the height of that structure.
  • Flight must take place within visual line of sight of the operator.
  • Approval is required from specific airports to fly within their airspace boundary.
  • Flight must only take place during daytime and twilight hours: flight is allowed 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Single-person operations are now allowed; a visual observer is no longer needed.
  • Drones must be registered with the FAA, a process that can be done online in about five minutes
  • Drones can carry an external load and transport property for compensation, allowing for package delivery.

To help residents comply with the new standards, Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is pleased to bring the UAS Certification Exam Prep to our area September 15–16.

Discover what commercial drone/UAS operators will need to know in order to pass the certification test.  Learn pertinent information regarding regulations, airspace, weather, and more with Mandy Briggs, Certified Flight Instructor at the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College.

The UAS Certification Exam, available directly after the second day of class, is being handled by the Parkland College Assessment Center.  Testing will occur on a first come, first served basis at the center.  The certification exam is $150.  Click here for all testing and registration information.

[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert is a program manager with Parkland Business Training and Community Education.]

 

Joining Forces: Business Training, Community Education

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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.

Why Try a Job Fair? For More Reasons than One

You’ve seen the posters around campus, the emails, the notices on Parkland’s website.  But you still think: “Job fair? me?  Uh-uh. I’m already working” or “I’m going on for my bachelor’s” or “I still have a year until graduation” or “I get too nervous” or “I’m just not ready yet.”

But the answer should be “YES!” because there’s more than one way to utilize a job fair.  Think about it, wouldn’t it be great to make connections with employers you think you might want to work for?  They don’t know you’re out there unless you let them know. Are you working in the field you want to end up in?  There could be opportunity to find a “real” job (even part-time) or internship opportunity before you complete your bachelor’s degree in your field of study.

You know you want to go into business, but that’s so broad.  A job fair allows you to get out and talk with a variety of companies  in the industry to find out in what direction you want to focus when you’re done with school.  Not sure how to start conversations with employers? Go through the fair, observe, and make sure to approach just one or two employers, just to practice presenting yourself.

Need help with your resume? elevator pitch? LinkedIn account?  As a Parkland student, you can plan ahead and schedule a FREE  appointment with the Career Center so that you are ready to go on the day of the job fair.

***We will hold our final job fair of the 2016 spring semester Monday, April 11, from 10 am to 1:30 pm in the Student Union Atrium.  This fair will focus on careers in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Business.

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday–Friday, 8 am–5 pm. ***

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

“Try Online!” Series: Intro to Summer, Fall Courses

Don’t let them fool you: online classes can be some of the most engaging, rigorous, and interactive college courses out there. In this short series of posts, “Try Online!”, Parkland faculty briefly introduce you to some of the most popular online courses we teach, available now in our summer/fall 2016 lineup. Below, check out MKT 101 , Introduction to Marketing, from instructor Bob Meyer.

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When people think of marketing, they often mistakenly think of advertising. After taking this class, you won’t be one of them.

Students taking Introduction to Marketing, or MKT 101, learn about the 4 P’s of the marketing endeavor: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Yet in many ways, this online class is a blend of entrepreneurship and marketing; you will actually write a marketing plan about a potential “new” business for Champaign County. Think that’s an exercise in futility? Actually, it’s just the opposite.

In fact, over 100 businesses in Champaign have been opened after a marketing plan was written in this class. Some were opened by my students. Other businesses were opened by people who used the student’s marketing plan. To name a few, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, a former Apple iStore, and Chipotle were among local businesses that opened 2–3 years after my students wrote marketing plans for them. Some of my former students have even presented their MKT 101 projects on a local business-related radio show.

What to Expect
Course work for MKT 101 includes five tests and five video reports. About 1/3 of the grade is writing a marketing plan and giving feedback to classmates on their marketing plans. So not only will you learn how to write a marketing plan, you will also learn how to evaluate the proposals of others. That makes this a great class for students, even if they do not pursue marketing professionally.

About the instructor. Bob Meyer was one of the first teachers at Parkland to teach online classes. He has taught over 100 online sections, including over 50 online classes of MKT 101.  He uses his background in investments and marketing to evaluate students’ marketing plans and give them suggestions on the feasibility of their plans.

***MKT 101: Offered June 13-Aug 4 and Aug 22-Dec 9. Register online today for either section (fall semester classes open to the public April 11).***

 

[Derrick Baker is director of Professional Development and Instructional Technology at Parkland College.]

Gen Ed Classes: Busy Work or Career Boosters?

Spring has arrived—and with it, thoughts about next semester, summer employment, if you are ever going to graduate, and whether you can squeeze in time for your  group project, write a 5-page paper on the cultural diversity of Indonesia, and hold down your part-time job all before the end of the semester.

If you want to be hired in today’s job market, you will NEED to use all of the above to your advantage.  That’s right: Those projects, papers, and seemingly useless knowledge of world governments, religions, and societies may be some of the  most important skills you’ll gain from your college career.

In today’s job market, employers want more than technical skills from their employees.  We live in a global society, and more and more jobs are requiring us to interact with other humans in some form for at least part of the day.  To help your resume stand out, start documenting what you are doing in these general education courses now.  For example, have you:

  • Completed group projects?
  • Improved your writing skills?
  • Gained knowledge and perspective on global issues/other cultures?
  • Worked with a diverse group of people?
  • Identified a problem and developed a solution?

You don’t need a ton of work experience to gain all these attractive skills; you’ve been doing them all along in your college coursework! The situations above translate into examples of communication, problem solving, teamwork, understanding and relating to others, diversity sensitivity, and managing multiple priorities.

So the next time your advisor tells you that you need one more humanities gen ed to fulfill your degree requirements, don’t roll your eyes but instead, challenge yourself to broaden your horizons and select a course you know nothing about.  You’ll have one more experience to add to your list and keep track of, so that when job search time comes, you can verbalize these experiences and move more powerfully toward career success.

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

How to Get an Internship … and Why You Should

Have you looked at your resume lately? See anything exciting there related to your dream job? Why not add an internship? 

An internship can actually be the key to your future, giving you experience and opening the doors to opportunities in your chosen field. In fact, some majors actually require them for graduation.

Learn more about how to land an internship and how to make the most of it while you’re on the job, and then search for internships nationwide at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege.

What Is SALT?
SALT is a website created by American Student Assistance® (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Parkland College students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we’re providing all of its services to you—including your membership—as a gift, free of charge. Create your SALT account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege today!

[Dawn Good is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Mapping the Future: Careers in Transition

It is never easy trying to plan for the unknown. This is especially true in the uncertain times our community and state are currently facing. Will there be funding? Will I have a job? If I change jobs, how long until that position is affected?

Positioning yourself for the next chapter in life can be overwhelming; where do you even start? A road map for success would be helpful, especially during times of unwanted career transitions (i.e. downsizing, layoffs, closings, etc).

Your Future Ahead Road Sign

Looking for a job—a really good job you actually want—will take time and a lot of effort. Changing careers is challenging because rarely will you meet ALL the must-have requirements, but there are things you can do and anticipate in your search that will help you shine.

We welcome you to learn from Rick Galbreath, SPHR, who is a nationally published author, public speaker, trainer, consultant and founder of Performance Growth Partners Inc. with over 25 years of experience. Rick will be at Parkland College Business Training from 8am to noon March 29, 30 and 31, presenting on “Mapping the Future: Career Transition Workshops.”

The Job Search: What I Want Next
Tue Mar 29     8am-noon

The Resume: Showcasing Your Talents
Wed Mar 30     8am-noon

The Interview: Landing the Job
Thu Mar 31     8am-noon

For more information, contact Business Training at 217/351-2235 or businesstraining@parkland.edu.
[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is program manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

GO AHEAD, Work: 10 Phone Interview Tips

Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews.  They are also used as a way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates.

Most phone interviews are scheduled, but it is important to be prepared on a moment’s notice.  You never know when a recruiter might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk.  Review the 10 tips below to make sure you are prepared.

  1.  Research the job and the company so you are prepared to discuss your role if you were to be hired.  Check their website to see what services or products they offer.  Why do you want to work for them?
  2. Tape papers on a  wall or countertop so you are not fumbling through them during the call.  Have in clear view:
    • A copy of your resume
    • A short list of your work-related strengths and accomplishments. Why should they hire you?
    • A short list of questions to ask the interviewers
    • A pen and notebook for notetaking
  3. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that you are in an area of full reception.
  4. Remove distractions: Turn off the TV and find a quiet place to talk.
  5. Answer with, “Hello, this is John.” If the time is not convenient, ask if you can call back and suggest a time.
  6. Avoid multitasking – Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum.
  7. Write down names – Who are you talking to? Get a phone number in case you get disconnected.
  8. Avoid “um” and “like” fillers.  Use complete sentences, speak slowly, and enunciate clearly.
  9. Show enthusiasm, but do not interrupt!
  10. Remember, your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview.  After you thank the interviewer, ask if it would be possible to meet in person or ask what the next step in the process will be.

****Our targeted career fairs will be held on the following dates from 10am to 1:30pm in the Student Union Atrium:

  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science and Information Technology/
    Business

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday–Friday, 8am–5pm.****

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

Aviation School, Republic Airways Sign Accord

Earning your flight credentials through Parkland College now guarantees you an employment interview with a major regional airline carrier.

To help resupply American air carriers with well-trained pilots, the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College is pleased to announce the signing of a guaranteed interview agreement with Republic Airways.

“For years, many aviation experts have warned of an impending shortage of pilots for airlines as current pilots reach retirement age,” said Sybil Phillips, director of the Institute of Aviation. “To satisfy the demand for pilots, the major airlines often draw from regional carriers like Republic Airways, who then must redouble their efforts to find qualified pilots. The Institute of Aviation feels well-positioned to address these needs.”

Jody Scott, Republic Airways’s director of talent acquisition, said schools like Parkland have been a reliable source for well-qualified pilots. “We are pleased to enter into an extended partnership with the Institute of Aviation, where we will guarantee interviews for the college’s exceptional graduates.”

Republic Airways is a partner with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and other major brands and employs about 6,000 aviation professionals across the country. Several Institute of Aviation alumni count among the carrier’s pilot ranks, Scott said.

“In fact, in a recent application process for a recruitment leadership role, nearly a dozen graduates from the program stepped up to put their name in the hat,” she said. “The reputation these men and women have within our company is a big reason we hope to continue hiring institute students.”

“The Institute of Aviation’s high standards of academic achievement, airmanship, and character are valued and respected by employers worldwide,” said Wendy Evans, recruiter for Parkland’s aviation institute. “This reputation and the alumni network aid in securing quality employment as graduates build time toward higher pilot certificates as they pursue careers in aviation.”

Founded more than 40 years ago as the small turboprop commuter Chautauqua Airlines in Jamestown, N.Y., Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings has grown into one of the nation’s largest regional carriers, with more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue, a fleet of about 200 aircraft and approximately 1,000 scheduled daily flights to 110 cities in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.  Republic Airways Holdings owns Republic Airways and Shuttle America, collectively “the airlines.” The airlines operate fixed-fee flights under major airline partner brands, including American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express.

With a livery of mainly Embraer 170s and 175s, Republic Airways is the world’s largest operator of Embraer aircraft. For more information, visit www.rjet.com or follow the company on Facebook,  LinkedIn, and Twitter.

[Wendy Evans is the aviation recruiter for the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College.]

 

Go Ahead, Work: Boost Your Web Presence with LinkedIn

Think of LinkedIn as your professional Facebook account.  It is a great way to make connections, research companies, and find job openings.

LinkedIn Co. logo
LinkedIn Co. logo.

After creating your account at www.linkedin.com, follow these 10 tips to set up and maximize your online presence!

  1.  Add a professional-looking photo of only yourself (NO SELFIES). Profiles with photos are 14 times more likely to be found in searches.
  2. Stand out with a headline that describes how you want to be known on LinkedIn.  Use your area of study and/or your career ambitions. Check out profiles of people who hold the job you’d like to get and see which keywords they use.
  3. Choose the industry in which you intend to enter.  If seeking a specific location for work, choose that location for your profile.  This way, you will appear in searches for that area.
  4. Write a brief summary describing your professional background and aspirations.  Describe your skills and abilities in short bursts of keyword-rich text.  Use bullets to separate the information.
  5. List all the work experience you’ve had, along with brief descriptions of each role.  List all the schools and colleges you’ve attended.  LinkedIn helps you connect with former colleagues and networking contacts who may be able to help you find a job opportunity.
  6. Add at least five skills to your profile.  Check out profiles of people in the field you plan to work and use the key words they use, but only if they are true to you!
  7. Ask for recommendations and endorsements from colleagues, clients, managers, professors, and classmates, not family and friends!
  8. Customize your URL to include something recongnizable, like a name or shortened version of your name.  Put the URL on your website, resume, email signature, and business cards to drive traffic to your LinkedIn profile.
  9. Make sure your profile is error free.  Don’t include photos, comments, or information you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see!
  10. Don’t just establish a LinkedIn presence; stay connected.  Reach out. Interact. You will get out what you put in.  Update your status about major projects you’ve completed, professional books/articles you’re reading, and professional successes you’ve had.

The following targeted career fairs will be held on the following dates from 10am to 1:30pm in the Student Union Atrium:

  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science Information Technology/Business

Make sure to stop by room U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm.

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

Nursing Conference: Continuing the Legacy of Sister Julia

[This post was written by Richard Francis, Regional Director for Clinical Education at Presence Covenant Medical Center.]

What if I told you Parkland’s Nursing program had Catholic roots? 

Sister Julia 2
Sister Moriarty (News-Gazette photo.)

Sister Julia Moriarty started Parkland’s nursing program in a joint venture between Parkland College and Presence Covenant Medical Center (then known as Mercy Hospital). Sister Julia was a remarkable and accomplished woman, who was first and foremost a servant to others. A member of the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, Sister Julia first came to Champaign-Urbana in 1942 to finish her nursing training and serve at the local Catholic hospital. She stayed for close to 50 years.

In the late 1960s, Parkland approached Sister Julia about starting a nursing program at the college. Although at the time, Mercy had its own hospital-based nursing program, Sister Julia saw the college program as a way to positively impact not just one hospital, but the community as a whole and nursing as a profession. Sister Julia spent five years living in the convent with the other sisters at the hospital while working with Parkland to establish their nursing program. Colleagues who taught with Sister Julia typically remark that she was well beyond everyone else in her thinking and vision for what nursing should be, and how nursing can positively impact the whole community. She was loved and respected by colleagues, co-workers, and patients. Her kind and warm spirit touched all who knew her.

In the spirit and example of Sister Julia, Parkland College and Presence Covenant are co-sponsoring a nursing conference with a local scope and flavor, The Spirit of Nursing Conference: Emerging Topics in Nursing.  Topics at this conference and future conferences will be kept global to appeal to all types of nurses, not just specific disciplines. Topics at the May 20 conference will include: The Changing Landscape of Healthcare, End of Life Decisions, Generations in the Workplace, and Life Skills for the Nurse.

The conference will begin with a light breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. and the conference will end at 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided.  Continuing education units (CEUs) available through the conference: 4.

The conference fee is $49, with proceeds supporting the Sister Julia Scholarship Fund at Parkland College.  Advanced registration is required due to limited seating.

To register, or for more information, please click here or call 217/351-2235.

 

GO AHEAD, Work: 10 Key Skills Employers Want

The Parkland Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  Keep these 10 key skills and qualities in mind as you approach today’s competitive job market:

  1.  Communication skills that demonstrate verbal, written, and listening abilities.
  2. Computer aptitude based on the level required for the position being filled.
  3. Team spirit, which involves working cooperatively with a variety of people and treating others with respect.
  4. Basic math and reading skills.
  5. Interpersonal skills, allowing you to relate to diverse coworkers and manage conflicts.
  6. Organizational skills, so that you can plan and complete multiple tasks in a timely fashion.
  7. Problem-solving skills, including the ability to think critically and identify and solve problems.
  8. Flexibility and adaptability, to handle change in the workplace.
  9. Personal traits such as a positive attitude, motivation, integrity, honesty, and leadership potential.
  10. Dependability and a strong work ethic!

The following targeted career fairs will be held on the following dates, from 10am to 1:30pm in the Student Union Atrium:

  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science Information Technology/Business

Make sure to stop by the Career Center in room U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website.  Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm.

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

 

GO AHEAD, Work: Top 10 Tips for Your Resume

The Parkland College Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  To best prepare for these upcoming fairs, make sure your resume is up-to-date with these 10 tips:

  1. Target your objective and resume to the position you’re applying for, matching your qualifications to the job description.
  2. List the most relevant information first. Employers may spend less than 30 seconds skimming a resume!
  3. Appearance and format are initially more important than content. If your resume is too long or not visually appealing, the employer may not read it. Stick to one page if you are an undergrad or recent graduate.
  4. Use action phrases, not complete sentences, to list your job duties. Do not use personal pronouns (“I”, “me”, and “my” are never included in a resume). List “Relevant Course Work” if you do not have relevant professional work experience.
  5. Use a Microsoft Word docment (but NOT the MS Word template). When sending electronically, type the cover letter in the text and attach your resume.
  6. Use specific examples or statistics whenever possible to demonstrate your strengths (e.g., trained 18 employees, increased sales by 10%). Think accomplishments!
  7. Pay careful attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  Have others proofread; don’t rely on spellcheck.
  8. Include participation in clubs, associations, or community and volunteer organizations. “Additional Activities” show how you developed interest and leadership abilities. Include awards and honors.
  9. Use key words which will be identified by applicant-tracking systems (e.g., Microsoft Word, UNIX, supervised, BA degree, MOUS, Windows NT, etc.).
  10. Be sure to ask your references before listing them on your resume. They’ll be better prepared when an employer calls!

****Our targeted Career Fairs will be held on the following dates from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union atrium::

  • February 10 – Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies
  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science  and Information Technology/
    Business

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.****

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

 

 

GO AHEAD, Work: Top 10 Cover-Letter Tips

The Parkland College Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  Make sure your cover letter is up-to-date with these 10 tips.

  1.  A cover letter should always accompany the resume.
  2. Cover letters should be one page, using standard business-letter format.
  3. Many employers look to the cover letter as an example of your written communication skills. Make certain that your cover letter is spell-checked, grammar-checked, and proofed by someone other than yourself.
  4. Address the letter to a specific person, using his or her correct title. If you are unsure as to whom the letter should be addressed, call the company and ask. Request spelling and title verification if necessary.
  5. Tailor the letter to the needs of the organization or the description of the position. Explaining what you want throughout the letter doesn’t tell the reader the BENEFIT of what you can offer.
  6. Capture the reader’s attention by highlighting your skills and abilities (think accomplishments and give examples); emphasize their usefulness to the employer.
  7. Be precise and concise; don’t waste the employer’s time with fluff or wordiness.
  8. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm and interest in the position. Keep the tone positive.
  9. Keywords are key. Becauase many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to find and screen candidates, skill-oriented keywords will boost your chances for being discovered.  Match your qualifications to the job description using key words.
  10. If submitting by email, type the letter in the body of the email and attach your resume. Use short paragraphs to give a brief bio on who you are and what you can do for them.  Wrap it up in the second paragraph.  An example for the subject line:  “CPA seeks accounting position. “

****Our targeted Career Fairs will be held on the following Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union atrium:

  • February 10 – Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies
  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science and Information Technology/
    Business

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536.****

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

GO AHEAD, Work: Top 10 Job Search Tips

The Parkland College Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  Make sure you’re ready for a job search by reviewing these 10 tips.

  1.  Get organized.   Prepare or update your resume and cover letter. Know what type of job you are looking for and what you have to offer. Make a plan and keep records of your activities.
  2. Polish your interview skills. You’re not ready to start your job search until you can answer questions about why you want the job and why you are qualified.
  3. Identify employers in your geographic location who employ people with your skills and/or education.  Search online, contact your chamber of commerce, and read Help Wanted ads and job posting sites.
  4. Research. Use the Internet to visit the websites of employers in your industry.  View the employment pages for job openings.
  5. Identify 3–4 of your professional strengths and develop a “30-second commercial” about yourself. Focus on your skills, experience, and education that qualify you for the job.
  6. Find three people who can give you a positive recommendation. “Professional” references should be work- or education-related.
  7. Network. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job.  Over 75 percent of job openings are not advertised!
  8. Schedule informational interviews to gather information about a company, current or future job openings, and the education or skills required. Remember, you are not asking for a job; you are seeking advice.
  9. Consider enhancing your work experience through an internship or part-time job.
  10. Show your gratitude. Send an email message or thank-you note to those who provided valuable advice and support.

****Our targeted Career Fairs will be held on the following Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union atrium:

  • February 10 – Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies
  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science and Information Technology/
    Business

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536.****

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

 

Collision Repair Q & A

The Collision Repair program at Parkland College received a lot of attention when they moved into the beautiful, state-of-the-art Parkhill Applied Technology Center facilities, but I hadn’t been back into that space much in the last two years.

I visited with instructor Chris Stephens about the programs being offered there, and was intrigued to learn more about the discipline and opportunities.

IMG_5802
Collision Repair instructors Dan Swann, left, and Chris Stephens, right

Q: What classes make up the Collision Repair curriculum?

A: Students enrolling can expect to take career-specific classes in the first semester. Those include dent repair, estimating, and glass trim and hardware. Those are prerequisites to other classes like automotive refinishing, structural repair, custom refinishing (using the airbrush), and custom upholstery. Students also take core classes in math, English, and speech.

Q: What is the job outlook like for Collision Repair students?

A: The students who want to work can almost guarantee themselves a job. Shops and insurance companies call us all the time for our best students. When bad weather hits, shops need help due to fender-benders and other damage as a result of the weather, and insurance companies need estimators. Most students don’t realize they might start as an estimator making $30-45,000 with the possibility to grow to $80,000. In a collision repair shop, they may start out at $10 per hour prepping parts, but as their skill level increases, they can make well over $20 per hour.

Q: What kind of student does well in Collision Repair?

A: People who do the best are those who know how to use tools or have the drive to finish something they start. They have a good work ethic and good eye-hand coordination. We often see people who are stuck in a “filler job,” working at something they don’t want to do long term. Collision repair is a great career choice, and many take classes while they work part or even full time to pay the bills.

Q: Talk about the Collision Repair facilities.

A: We have a state-of-the-art space in the Parkhill Applied Technology Center here at Parkland. We train students for the workplace setting, so we have top-notch paint booths and frame machines. Our measuring systems use computer-guided technology, one with an articulating arm and the other with lasers for precise measurements. We purchased the same type of equipment used in local shops so when students are employed they will already be familiar with these types of systems. Our bumper repair includes a nitrogen plastic welder, which is newer technology that insurance companies are requiring of shops to stay up to date.

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A vehicle awaits its paint job.

Q: What is the most popular aspect of the program among students?

A: Students are always anxious to start refinishing in the paint booth. That’s a fun part of the curriculum for many.

Q: How does someone get started in Collision Repair?

A: We have a new program starting in the spring semester, so students don’t have to wait to get started on a new career path. Visit our website and contact our program manager, David Anderson at est@parkland.edu.

Take a Deep Breath, Get a Great Job!

Are you thinking of pursuing a health-related career? Sit back, take a deep breath, and consider respiratory care.

Local starting salaries are upwards of $35,000, and jobs are abundant in our area and nationwide. You can earn your Associate in Applied Science degree in two years; Parkland graduates have achieved 100% job placement. This is a great career for returning adult students; classes and labs offered in a hybrid format means you are only on campus one full day per week.

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Why is respiratory care important? Breathing is so fundamental that most of us do not give it a second thought. Breathing just happens; the magic of the chemistry in our brains takes over, and we breathe. But for the 24 million people in the United States and the 52 million worldwide who live with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), taking a breath can be a struggle. It requires work. Activity often demands planning to accommodate for the time required to “let me catch my breath.”

Respiratory therapists are critical members of the interdisciplinary care team for patients experiencing difficulty breathing. Providing diagnostic testing, treatment, and patient and family education, the respiratory therapist has the knowledge and skills to help patients with chronic lung disease enjoy an improved quality of life. Respiratory therapists provide pulmonary function testing, oxygen and specialty gas therapies, inhaled medications, airway clearance, and mechanical ventilation. In a resuscitation or CPR situation, a respiratory therapist is at the head, providing an airway and breathing for the patient. Respiratory therapists also see patients in neonatal intensive care units that arrive too soon, too small, or too sick to survive without a little help breathing; the chronically ill with complicating acute illnesses; and the critically sick and injured of all ages.

Most respiratory therapists work in acute care hospitals, but therapists are also needed in home care, in out-patient diagnostics, in pulmonary rehabilitation programs, long-term ventilation facilities, and in medical equipment sales and support. 

Applications for fall 2016 admission to the Parkland College Respiratory Care program are due by March 1, 2016. For more information email mseim@parkland.edu or visit http://www.parkland.edu/academics/departments/health/rtt/.

 

[Parkland’s Respiratory Care program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care and prepares you to become an expert in assessing, treating, and educating patients who have acute and/or chronic lung disease.]

Go Ahead, Go Global!

Global Cultural Competence (HCS 236-201) is an exciting new course being offered at Parkland College in the spring! It promises to be a fun course in which to learn about other cultures from around the world.

There is increasing need in the US to develop better global cultural competence so that citizens work and communicate effectively with people from around the world, especially in the workplace.

cherry-blossom-9110754This course will feature interactive learning projects that engage students in learning about global cultures and developing effective cross-cultural communication skills for the workplace.

Course curriculum is designed for Health Professions, Criminal Justice, and Education majors but is open to all students.

The course will be taught by Michele Spading.  It is a two-hour, hybrid, late-start course that meets Mondays, 3-4:50 p.m.

HCS 236-201 is part of a project sponsored by the Center for Global Studies at UIUC, through support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI NRC program.

Parkland Auto Takes on Vegas at SEMA Show

Parkland College Automotive students got to travel earlier this month to Las Vegas, Nevada, where they participated in the student education program at the world-renowned Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) Show.

SEMA Show at Las Vegas Convention Center
SEMA Show at Las Vegas Convention Center

Six students and two faculty from Parkland’s Automotive Technology program participated in the five-day, celebrity-filled event. Student sessions took place Nov. 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with a special lunch session for faculty members Nov. 3.

While there were not any technical hands-on activities, students were immersed in the skills required for professional interaction with companies trying to market their parts and services. The highlight for most any instructor is to be able to see students using what they have been exposed to and learned in the classroom in real life.

Parkland students at the SEMA Show (l. to r.): Brad Nelson, AJ Ross, Jeff Havener, Dan Goode, Thomas McClellan, and Jon Snelling
Parkland students at the SEMA Show (l. to r.): Brad Nelson, AJ Ross, Jeff Havener, Dan Goode, Thomas McClellan, and Jon Snelling

At first, students seemed overwhelmed by the experience! One student had never flown before and several students had never seen the Rocky Mountains. Only one had seen the lights of Las Vegas before. We exposed them to more than one million square feet of automotive products and services!

By the end of each day, however, it was amazing to listen to what our students were learning about the companies. Each of them provided examples of how they interacted with different companies and how they were able to adapt their approach and strategy in each experience based on what they were learning back home. As I walked the show floor looking for my own educational experience, several vendors recognized our Parkland Motorsport shirts and would say, “Your students were by here earlier—very impressive.” This is just another example of interaction you cannot get in the classroom.

Celebrities.  After current SEMA president Doug Evans addressed the more than 500 students in attendance Monday, TV personality, metal fabricator, and painter Jessi Combs also spoke. Jessi talked about how her passion for the industry has led to so many different and amazing experiences. She was also a part of the “Gear Up Girl’ event held later that day targeted specifically to women in the automotive industry. Later, there was Q&A with Doug and Jessi about SEMA and careers in the aftermarket industry. During the Tuesday luncheon, Doug addressed the faculty group along with Matt Crawford, author of the best-selling book Shop Class as Soul Craft.  About 100 school faculty and administrators were present.

Our students’ comments about SEMA:
“I had no idea there were so many different companies selling parts.”
“It’s so cool that these companies are interested in us even though we are just automotive students.” 

“I’m pretty sure I would have a job with this company if I moved to Texas.”
“I am having so much fun, I feel like I must be doing something wrong!”
“I can’t believe there were companies that knew about our drag car and training program.” 
“They said they remembered being at our school on the [Hot Rod Magazine] Power Tour stop.” 
“We get to come back next year, right?”

While our focus from this experience was on developing career paths for motorsport students, the option to participate was open to any students who could pay their portion of the trip (airfare, meals and boarding), which came to about $400. Plus, students had to be in good academic standing so they could miss other classes. Most had to take off work to participate over the five days.

…. And yes, we plan to go again in the future.

SEMAstudents2

5 Observations from a College Recruiter

Life on the road can be fun (and exhausting) for a college recruiter.

My goal is to share the good word about the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College. Building a following takes time, and travel this fall has sent me in every direction in Illinois, and from Wisconsin and Missouri to Ohio and Indiana to Kentucky and back. I’ve put miles on my vehicle, passing the time singing to every Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift song I hear (yes, I admit I sing along, but it’s not my fault; they write catchy tunes).

I’ve noticed something interesting during these travels: While the venues change from day to day, the faces and questions remain similar. Wherever the road takes me, regardless of the state, I’ve come across homogeneity in prospective students and their families.

Based on my observations of these similarities, I’ll share five tips with you about college recruitment fairs (just in case you plan to attend one any time soon).

Observation 1: College fairs are a family affair

Dad with student, Mom picking up materials, grandparents along for the ride, and an older sibling explaining how it works: Let’s face it, college is a huge decision, and having the support of family plays an important role in a student’s college choice. I’ve seen overwhelming support from family members as they ask their student, “what do you want to do?” Refreshing, in my eyes.

Observation 2: Don’t be afraid

Without the push of family or friends, many students are afraid to talk to a recruiter. We don’t bite (well, at least not students)! Your first step to becoming independent is being able to speak for yourself, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, college will be a series of these types of interactions. Remember, I’m there to help you complete the picture you have painted in your mind about a school or program. I am real-life person standing in front of you—please come talk to me!

Observation 3: Do your homework

It’s not every day that you have 40, 50, or 300 schools all in one place and at your fingertips! Before accepting this great opportunity, then, you need to do a little homework. If your passion is aviation, then make sure you talk to all the aviation programs that are present. Prepare some standard questions you can readily ask each of them. This will give you a baseline for comparing programs and will help you make the most of your time while at the fair.

Observation 4: Don’t get stuck on the names

Students are stuck on the popularity of names. For example, they will spend several minutes waiting to talk to an institution’s rep just because they know them by name, even though they may have little to no interest attending in the school as a whole. “But it’s the flagship!” you might reply. Perhaps, but that is still no reason to attend a particular school; there has to be more intrinsic value for you than that.

Observation 5: Explore where you can thrive

I firmly believe you should throw rankings and popularity of names out the window and explore schools that will allow you to thrive not just as a student, but also as an individual. College is about coming into your own and becoming the best you can be. Find the school that can challenge you, allow you to be you, and reward you for your efforts. It is hard to describe, but there is a level of comfort you should feel when you step onto a campus or inside a department. School rankings can’t get you your dream career; while they may crack open a door for you, only YOU can walk through that door. Opportunity is everywhere, so find a place where you can thrive.

[Wendy Evans is the recruiter for Parkland’s Institute of Aviation.]

Health Professions Annual Open House

The folks in Parkland Health Professions are getting excited for our annual Open House this Friday!

Since November 13 is only days away, we’ve been checking things twice: Do we have enough flyers? Balloons? Tablecloths?  After all, this is a celebration of sorts, a time to share our excitement and enthusiasm about the great professions we have chosen.

Health Professions’ program directors, faculty, and best of all—our students—will be here Friday ready to greet you and other prospective students wondering if a health career is in their future.

Won’t you join us?

We offer so many options at Parkland—from one-semester programs leading to a career as a Certified Nurse Assistant or Emergency Medical Technician to full two-year Associate degree programs in Dental Hygiene, Massage Therapy, Registered Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assisting, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapy, Surgical Technology, Emergency Medical Services–Paramedic, or Veterinary Technician. Does your time and finances only allow a year of schooling to obtain a professional health-career certification? We offer one-year certificate programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Office Assisting, Massage Therapy, and Emergency Medical Services.

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Do you already have a degree or certificate and are just looking for a way to use your current skills and build on them?  We even offer “bridge” opportunities to help you, such as our Paramedic to RN bridge and LPN to RN bridge programs.

Start small, think big! The future is limitless. Our two-year degree programs transfer well to four-year schools for students who want to pursue a baccalaureate degree and beyond. The healthcare industry continues to experience strong employment growth that is anticipated to continue for many more years; our is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the country.

So come as you are, stop in, and find out more at our Open House on November 13 from noon to 3 pm.  We’ll have information at both our main campus and at the H wing on Mattis Avenue.  At H wing, you can watch students working in our simulation lab; meanwhile, at the main campus, you can check out the Surg Tech students practicing in their very own operating room. Ask questions about each program and speak to the faculty and students for firsthand experience!

H.S. Students, Parents: Scholarship, Info at SPIN!

High school students: Want to win a $250 Scholarship?

Register to win one next Thursday at our annual Parkland College Student/Parent Information Night (SPIN)!

Student/Parent Information Night
Thursday, November 5
6-7:30 p.m.
Student Union

Designed for high school students and their parents, you’ll get lots of information on:

  • How to Apply to Parkland
  • Paying for College
  • Health Professions and Other Academic Programs
  • Parkland Pathway to Illinois
  • PLUS, representatives from Disability Services, Student Life, Financial Aid, First Year Experience, Dual Credit, and TRiO will be on hand to answer your questions.

Ask current Parkland students your questions and register to win a $250 scholarship!

Want more information or have questions? Contact Sarah Hartman at sjhartman@parkland.edu or 217/353-2002.

Ready to sign up for SPIN?  RSVP here:

 

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

Cash and Relevant Work Skills for YOU!

With the holiday season upon us, now could be just the right time to save a little extra cash for ________(fill in the blank): a spring break trip, car repair, textbook money, paying down credit card debt, and more. Seasonal employment is a great way to fulfill these needs plus gain valuable workplace skills.  

087But how do you even begin a search for temporary work this holiday season? Look no further! The Career Center and SaltMoney (free to all Parkland students, alumni, and staff) have lots of great resources to make the process as easy as possible for you:

  • Visit the  Career Center for application tips and other job search tips to help you prepare.
  • Check out SaltMoney to receive time management tips for balancing school and work as well as budgeting advice.

What workplace skills can you gain from taking a job outside of your major/career goals?  Employers are always looking for soft skills such as being a team player, working well under pressure, and critical thinking. You can build on these skills with seasonal employment.

Good luck with that holiday job search, and make sure to sign up for SaltMoney and follow the Career Center on Twitter at @connectwithPCC.

 

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in the Career Center.]

Inside the classroom: Fuel and Emissions

IMG_5130previous blog entry about the Volkswagen emissions controversy tied in with some of the elements we teach in class, so I thought I’d provide a glance for automotive enthusiasts about some of our classroom activities. 

Yesterday in our Fuel and Emissions class (AFD 231), instructor Adam Karch worked with students to understand how onboard emission monitors are actually completed on a running and driving vehicle. Students used a chassis dynamometer, an exhaust gas analyzer, and scan tool to monitor when and how the vehicle’s emission system checked each of the required emission monitoring systems.

IMG_5134

The screen above shows the emission monitors that are being checked on a scan tool that is communicating with the vehicle’s onboard computer. The vehicle must be driven under different conditions that are programmed into the vehicle computer. The student has to drive the vehicle under different loaded conditions to get the vehicle’s onboard computer to check each of the required emission systems. The dynamometer displays a colored line on its display screen that is based on a program in the dynamometer that follows the proper drive cycle for emission testing.

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The above image shows the line that must be followed on the dynamometer screen. The student increases or decreases vehicle speed and load to follow the requirements of the test. The drive cycle test is very specific in vehicle speed and load conditions. It often takes multiple attempts to drive a vehicle on public roads to get a vehicle to complete all the required tests. Slowing down to avoid traffic or obey posted speed limits will interrupt the test. It is much safer and easier to complete a drive cycle on the chassis dynamometer.

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The chassis dynamometer also allows the instructor to be with the student in the learning environment to answer questions while the test is being competed. The student can then focus on learning and properly complete the test rather than traffic and general driving.

This learning activity also helps reinforce the importance of test-driving a customer’s car after a repair attempt has been made. If a technician determines an EGR valve has failed and replaces the valve, but does not test drive the vehicle under the correct conditions, the technician really does not know if the repair attempt has fixed the customer’s complaint. Driving the vehicle under the conditions that allow the onboard computer to complete a self-check is the only way to know definitively that the vehicle has been repaired.

This is only one example of many tests that your vehicle is continuously attempting to complete. Other tests might require the vehicle to sit unoperated for several hours or to be under a specific load and speed for several minutes.        

If you are interested in checking out our automotive technology programs or scheduling a tour of our facility, please email est@parkland.edu or call 217/351-2481. IMG_5132 IMG_5133

Celebrate Surgical Technology Week with Us!

Happy National Surgical Technology Week!

This week, we celebrate the profession of surgical technology. Do you know what a surgical technologist is or does in surgery?

We serve as an integral part of the surgical team, standing next to and across from the surgeon during all surgical procedures. We’re either

  • handling the instrumentation and the medications for the patient
  • helping handle tissue, or
  • troubleshooting any thing that may arise.

We are credentialed professionals and vital surgical team members.

Mvc-040In 1979, the very first evening I worked at a large hospital in St. Louis, I experienced a procedure where a patient came in with incredible and life-threatening injuries. While I was overwhelmed, I knew that I had chosen the right career field, because we worked as a team, the surgeon, the assistants, and the nurses. With very little verbal communication, everyone knew what to do.

We have to think on our feet everyday and stay focused on the goal. I love the challenge of always trying to anticipate the surgeon’s moves to be the best surgical technologist. I still enjoy the intensity as well as the gentle care we provide patients in order to produce the best outcomes possible.

So, let’s celebrate the hidden health care team member!
Join us for Open House Mock Operating Rooms this week.

Tuesday 1-3 p.m. and Friday 10-noon in Room L143

Questions? C ontact Carolyn Ragsdale, program director, at cragsdale@parkland.edu.

So You Want to be A Nurse? New, Flexible Options

Have you always wanted to become a nurse but can’t attend classes because you have to work? Parkland’s LPN Program is starting an evening/weekend group!

This group has been created for those interested in nursing who cannot attend day classes. It has been developed for certified medical assistants (CMAs) and anyone who wants to become a licensed practical nurse while taking evening and weekend classes.

That’s right: the LPN Program is now accepting CMAs into the program. Since they have many of the skills certified nursing assistants (CNAs) have, they do not have to take the CNA course. A short assessment and an evaluation of skills are all that is needed!

Lastly, we also have a great bridge program into the RN Program (ADN Nursing) for licensed practical nurses and emergency medical service paramedics. Registered nurses are in high demand locally, so taking advantage of this opportunity could particularly enhance salary/benefits for area residents. For more information on these great nursing career training options, please call Joanne Heck at 217/353-2126 or Michele Spading at 217/351-2468.

 

 

[Joanne Heck is director of Parkland’s LPN Program.]

Top Skills Employers Want in New Grads

Students work hard in their classes, but many times they need help articulating the skills and knowledge they acquire in the classroom to “employer speak.” Keep the following in mind as you make that connection between your coursework and your career.

Top Skills Employers Seek (in order of importance):

1) Ability to work well on a team
2) Ability to make decisions and solve problems
3) Written and verbal communication skills
4) Technical knowledge related to the job
5) Ability to plan and prioritize work
6) Diversity sensitivity and ability to build rapport with others
7) Adaptability and Flexibility
8) Professionalism and a positive attitude

(Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers 2014 Survey)

Have you held a leadership position? Received a scholarship? Presented at a conference? Led committee work? Participated in fund-raising? Think about class projects where you have been a team leader. Keep the skills employers want in mind!

For instance, if you staffed a campus snack bar, say you “worked on a team of five people and handled food orders.” Maybe at a summer camp you coordinated the daily activities for 140 young campers. Make sure you spell out responsibilities briefly but specifically!

Surg Tech Program Continues SUCCESS!

The Parkland College Surgical Technology Program is proud to announce that its graduates recently earned a 100% pass rate for the National Certifying Board exam.  Every student who graduates from the program takes the certification exam on the last day of class. The national pass rate is 69.8%, and Parkland’s pass rate is 92% (100% in the last 4 out of 5 years!)

Guess what? This career field offers jobs, too!  Parkland’s Surgical Technology Program has a 92.8 % job placement rate. A lot of jobs are out there for these skills, nationally and locally!

If you want to hear more about being a surgical technologist, contact me:
Carolyn Ragsdale, Program Director and Faculty
Surgical Technology at Parkland College
cragsdale@parkland.edu
217/373-3746

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Five Common Banking Misconceptions

Banking and banks have been around for centuries, yet most of us know very little about how banking works. Check out these five common fallacies about today’s banking system from Jim Smith, a local bank manager and one of Business and Agri-Industries’ newest part-time instructors.

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Here are five common misconceptions about banking:

  1. Banks are insured by the federal government.

While bank deposits are insured by FDIC, which stands for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, some banks are not. Banks pay a premium to be insured by the FDIC, just like any other insured entity.

  1. Banks lend out customer deposits.

Banking hasn’t worked this way for a long time. Banks make adjustments to balance sheets, assets, and liabilities, essentially lending out money from the very loans they issue.

  1. Banks have lots of cash in their vaults.

The total physical US currency supply is about 1.2 trillion dollars, and only about a third of that is in the US. Most banks keep relatively little cash on hand and prefer to handle physical currency as little as possible.

  1. Central banks are all powerful.

The Federal Reserve Act does give central banks some impressive powers, but they have no power over credit rating agencies. Many hedge fund and wealth funds that act as banks are also not under Federal Reserve authority, neither are many international banks.

  1. Banks alone control interest rates.

Credit rating agencies have as much if not more influence over interest rates than banks; their ratings determine the cost of loans.

So were you surprised? The way banking works has changed over the centuries, and other countries with different financial systems have different banking procedures. Whether you are a consumer who uses banks every day or a financial executive who interacts with our banking system, you will benefit by knowing how the system works.

Join us for Parkland’s new course, BUS 171 – Principles of Banking, and get your banking education underway!

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An introduction to banking and financial services, BUS 171 will focus on bank terminology, financial performance, managing risk and sources of funds, and lending policies and procedures. Course instructor is Jim Smith, and the course textbook is Bank Management and Financial Services by Peter Rose and Sylvia Hudgins, Richard Irwin Publishing.

Parkland will offer BUS 171 beginning this fall semester, Aug. 24–Dec. 16. Class will meet on Wednesdays, 6–8:45 p.m. in Room B134. The course is 3 credit hours, has no prerequisite, and may be applied toward our Business Management AAS degree.

Sign up now; registration for the course ends Aug. 18!

[Bruce Henrikson is chair of the Business and Agri-Industries department at Parkland.]

Why Don’t Our Employees Show Up On Time?

We’ve heard it from manufacturers to health care to education: Every industry is affected by the lazy employee rolling in 5, 10, or even 30 minutes late. HOLD UP! Is it really the employee’s fault? That’s right, could it be partially the employer or supervisor’s fault?

Soft skills, essential skills, common sense–whatever you want to call it–isn’t pre-programmed into us. We humans as a whole learn by hearing, doing, and seeing behaviors performed (some good and some bad). If we weren’t shown, we haven’t practiced, and no one took the time to explain to us why something is so important, why would we know how and when to do it?

Here’s some food for thought:

  • Are the supervisors modeling the appropriate behaviors?
  • Are the supervisors properly trained (performance management, constructive feedback, conflict management, etc.)?
  • Is the environment toxic (hostile, workplace gossip, safety concerns, etc.)?
  • Is the workplace invested in cultivating its employees vs. terminating the employee?
  • Are the employees effectively trained and oriented to the company culture and expectations?

Don’t give up on the “lazy” employee or the employee who isn’t producing or functioning at the level you desire. Instead, SHOW them, TRAIN them, and give them the TOOLS to SUCCEED.  Learn how through these popular classes from Parkland Business Training:

Time Mastery: Maximize Your Time
Making Teams Work

Everybody Hurts

“Everybody Hurts”…this popular song by R.E.M. echoes the reason most massage therapists have jobs today. Most people have some acute or chronic pain issue during their lifetime which causes them to hurt physically and psychologically.

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are over 27 million people in the United States who have osteoarthritis and 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis that is painful. This pain places limits on daily living and can affect a person’s overall quality of life.

Pain is the body’s main warning symptom of problems within the body. Physical issues are most often the cause, but as holistic practitioners, massage therapists must not neglect the emotional components of a complex pain response. Research shows that people who suffer with chronic pain are also much more likely to be depressed. During massage we can engage the parasympathetic or relaxation response, which will release the neurochemicals serotonin and norepinephrine. The relaxation response initiated by massage can help lessen overall pain.

26965014_mlEssential oils via aromatherapy, music, and meditation have been researched by the National Institute of Health, which show they often provide multiple benefits for short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) pain for many individuals.

Join us on July 18th from 9–4pm for our class Holistic Pain Management.  Holistic modalities are a simple and beneficial way to help support  the body’s  natural healing abilities. Learn about the multiple holistic techniques massage therapists can use to help improve healing and manage pain. This course will give you the tools to prepare natural, plant-based topical therapies, guide your clients through relaxing meditations, and use hands-on techniques for body compresses, acupressure, and other methods that enhance mind/body wellness.

 

 

Food Service Sanitation Training Q&A

Business Training receives daily phone calls about registering for the in-demand Food Service Sanitation course.  Here are some of the frequently asked questions and answers as well as important information.

  • How long is the class?
    In July 2014, the course became an 8-hour class with exam.
  • How do I re-certify?
    Effective July 1, 2014, food handlers must take an 8-hour Food Service Sanitation course and exam every five years for re-certification.
  • How much does the class cost?
    $149 + $49 for the required book and test.
  • In which languages are the exams available?
    The exam is available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Burmese.
  • How do I get my results/certificate?
    If you provided a valid email address on your answer sheet, you’ll receive an email notice when your results are available. Click the link in the email to view your results, complete the required information to create a ServSafe.com User ID, and you can view your results. You can print your certificate by selecting the “Print My Certificate” option under the Student section of www.servsafe.com/ss/foodhandler. Parkland College Business Training will also mail you your results and certificate upon successful completion.  If you do not pass, you will also receive notification via mail.
  • Does my certificate expire?
    Yes. ServSafe Food Handler Certificates expire 3 years after the date of the Assessment was successfully passed.
  • Are their qualifications to take the course?  What will I get after the assessment?
    This course has no official prerequisite and may be completed by any individual that seeks knowledge of basic safe food handling procedures. The ServSafe Food Handler Assessment is designed to gauge the knowledge that has been delivered through the ServSafe Food Handler Course or comparable program. Individuals who receive a ServSafe Food Handler Certificate have successfully completed a Food Handler Course and have basic knowledge of the topics covered in the course.
  • When will my results be available?
    Results are typically available within two weeks after the National Restaurant Association receives the completed Exam Information Form and Answer Sheets sent from your instructor.
  • How do I take the exam if it’s not in my native language?
    If the exam is not available in your native language, you can utilize a native language-to-English dictionary during the exam.
  • When does Parkland College Business Training offer Food Service Sanitation courses?
    Click here to see our most current course offerings or call 217/351-2235.

How to Know You’re an ‘Extraordinary’ Leader

I hate to break it to you, but not everyone is a great leader. We might strive to be, we might even think we are… but our thoughts can vary from reality.

Some leaders have been placed in the position as figureheads, some leaders have taken the role by force, and still others have earned the position, the title, and sometimes the prestige of leader.

Leader-Leadership-Abraham-Lincoln

So, what distinguishes an extraordinary leader from a good or average one? How do we know when we are an extraordinary leader? Of course, we all have opinions about who is a great leader, but several key factors can put you on the path of extraordinaryship (yes, it’s a made-up word, but I think it’s appropriate):

  • Character: integrity and honesty— ethical standards, etc.
  • Personal Capability: the intellectual, emotional, and skill make-up of a leader
  • Focus on Results: ability to have a positive impact on an organization
  • Interpersonal Skills: being able to communicate, inspire, build relationships, develop others, and collaborate
  • Leading Organizational Change: ability to have a strategic perspective, champion change, and connect

Learn how to become an extraordinary leader here or call 217/351-2235!

Teach Them to Fish (So You Can Have a Break!)

man-fishTired of the constant line of employees knocking on your door? Can’t seem to do your own work? I get it!

When you are the leader of, well, anything, you are called on numerous times. Sometimes is it warranted, and sometimes you think to yourself, “You’ve got to be kidding me; I pay you for what, now?” Okay, so maybe that is a bit extreme (but you know it’s not).

The part of being a leader that isn’t always explained when you agree to take the corner office with the big desk and hefty paycheck is that you are now responsible for the cultivation (yes, cultivation) of your employees. They don’t always come fully equipped to do what we need them to do (What? You’ve never experienced this, EVER? Stop reading this now and call me, 217/351-2235. Seriously, I need your secrets!).

Cultivation means development, especially through education and training, per Dictionary.com (yes, I looked it up). In order for you to have more time, you need to cultivate your employees—essentially be their Miracle Gro—and help them grow into what YOU need, so that you can be successful and so your team, department, company, etc., can be the best.

Now, let’s go back to the title of this blog, Teach Them to Fish (So You Can Have a Break): Instilling confidence and assuring your employees that they have the ability to make decisions and solve problems on their own are keys to getting that much deserved break… and being left alone on your next vacation.

Learn how to cultivate your employees through our Leadership Series classes here or call 217/351-2235.

***

[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is Program Manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

 

Come Fly with Us: Open House, DuPage Airport

Calling all Institute of Aviation prospective students and alumni! You are invited to attend the Institute of Aviation Open House at the DuPage Airport on Saturday, April 18 starting at 1 p.m. The Open House will be at the DuPage Flight Center, 2700 International Drive in West Chicago.

Free fun flights are available for the first 10 prospective students to RSVP to aviation@parkland.edu. Be sure to RSVP soon, because a parent or guardian will need to sign a consent form if the prospective student is less than 18 years old.

Students will learn about what the Institute of Aviation has to offer, with our four pathways to an aviation career. Alumni and friends will learn about what’s been happening as we transition to Parkland College from the University of Illinois.

Our focus will be on prospective students from 1-4 p.m., and then we greet, meet, and field questions from alumni and friends from 4-7 p.m.

Stop by to meet current students and flight instructors, maybe take a fun flight, and learn more about the possibilities at the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College.

Early College & Career Academy Coming Fall 2015

Do you know an area high school student who wants a head start on a new career? Education for Employment System #330, along with Parkland College, is happy to announce the launch of its Early College and Career Academy, or ECCA, beginning fall 2015.

The new academy will allow high school juniors and seniors to enroll in dual credit classes at the Parkland campus. Six programs will be offered in its debut:  automotive technology, computer networking, criminal justice, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical services, and manufacturing.

Of course, Parkland has offered dual credit classes for some time now. However, ECCA students will not only receive dual credit; they will learn valuable hands-on skills to prepare them for the workforce. Several programs are even aligned with Parkland certificates and/or state licenses.

Transportation to and from Parkland, as well as funding provided for the program, will be determined by the students’ home high schools. This is a great opportunity for students in our area to experience higher education while still in high school and get a head start on their career goals.

Students who are interested should contact their high school guidance counselor. Information is also available at www.parkland.edu/ecca. The EFE #330/ECCA office can be reached at 217/355-1382.

 

[Renae Kirkton is the special projects coordinator for EFE System #330.]

Computer Science, IT Jobs, Internships Are Waiting

Parkland students: Did you know that in the past year, we have had 65 businesses contact us directly to advertise positions in Information Technology (IT) on our job board?

In fact, in January 2015 alone we had 9 new job postings!

Computer and IT-related industries are continually seeking Parkland College students for internship possibilities, as well as full-time and part-time jobs.

Some of these employers have included Human Kinetics, University of Illinois, Amdocs, Wolfram, and Carle.

What do you need to do to find out about these opportunities?

1)  Go to our online Job Board.  Also make sure to check your Parkland email periodically for mailings regarding job openings.

2) Browse the online posts for positions that may be a good fit for you.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a position that interests you the first time, as we are adding jobs all the time.

3) Find out how the employer prefers to receive your information, and submit your qualifications!

Computer science and IT opportunities for training are out there, waiting for you. What a great way to gain experience as you are continuing your education in the IT field! Don’t let them pass you by!

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[Cyndia Hinton is program manager for Parkland’s Computer Science and Information Technology department. She can be reached at  217/353-2414.]

Applying for a Health Career Program? Act Fast

March 1 is right around the corner, so if you are interested in applying to one of Parkland’s Health Professions programs, now is the time!

To enter most of our programs, students must go through a “Selective Admissions” process.  What does this mean?  Here are the main points:

  • Each program has specific admission criteria and minimum requirements.
  • A student must specifically “apply” to one particular program.
  • Program-specific classes can only be taken by students admitted to the program.
  • Application deadlines are specific.
  • Admissions are competitive; even though you meet minimum requirements, you may not be accepted.

The best way to learn more about our Selective Admissions process is to visit our website and watch our “Get the Facts” presentation at www.parkland.edu/healthprofessions.

While you’re at the website, take a look around and check out our different Health Professions programs. When you click on a program, it will take you to that program’s website for more information.

So, are there any programs that are not Selective Admissions?  Yes; the Nurse Assistant and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Basic are one-semester courses that will only be available to sign up for during our normal registration periods. However, both of these classes have requirements, so please take the time to visit those websites. The Nurse Assistant program has state requirements that need to be completed before registering.

These are the programs with March 1 deadlines:

Dental Hygiene
Dietary Manager
Emergency Medical Services: Paramedic
Massage Therapy
Medical Assisting
Nursing: ADN – Registered Nursing
Nursing: LPN – Practical Nursing
Nursing: LPN to ADN Bridge
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Radiologic Technology
Respiratory Care
Surgical Technology
Veterinary Technology

Please visit our website for more information and handy  “Are you ready to apply?” checklists for each program: http://www.parkland.edu/healthprofessions

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me at mspading@parkland.edu. See you around campus!

Michele Spading
Vice Chair Health Professions Student Affairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you do with an English degree?

It’s a question I’ve heard over and over again: “What are you planning on doing with an English degree?” This is frequently accompanied by derision and/or unsolicited advice to change my major to something more lucrative.

Perhaps there is more job security in nursing and more financial stability in a business or engineering degree, but I believe it is far more rewarding to study what you love and, personally, I am happier around words than I am around numbers.

So, getting back to that pesky question, here are some things you can do with an English degree:

Teaching

This one is pretty obvious—I think many people automatically assume this is what most English majors plan to do with their degree. And while teaching is certainly not all that is available to English majors, it is nonetheless an excellent option. Elementary and secondary school teachers require teaching certifications, and college professors need a master’s degree.

Pre-professional Programs

College students majoring in English tend to be very well-rounded in their educations. They are taught to write well, analyze ideas, and communicate skillfully. This is why many with an English BA further their studies in fields like law, medicine, and business.

Publishing

People with English degrees are conversant in researching, editing, reading, and writing, and this makes them a good fit for jobs within the publishing industry. While these kinds of jobs are a little harder to come by, it is possible to work your way up through jobs such as an editorial assistant or a proofreader/copyeditor, or through internships.

Writing

This is another occupation that English majors are naturally suited for, but as with publishing, these jobs can be difficult to secure. Writing is also a multifaceted field—it includes journalism, technical writing, scientific writing, creative writing, and copywriting. Any Parkland College English major interested in writing should look at all their college transfer options for Writing minors or concentrations to accompany their English major upon transfer.

Advertising, Podcasts, Public Relations, Research Assisting, Speechwriting, Travel Writing, Movie Critiquing

The list goes on! There are tons of jobs out there for English majors, and a great place to find out more about it is Parkland’s Career Center in the U wing. You can take a career test and find out exactly what you’re suited for. Make sure you know all your options, and have fun exploring them!

[Marnie Leonard is a Parkland College Student Ambassador.]

Learning to Fly

Jeremy Russow
My name is Jeremy Russow and I am pursuing my goal of becoming a pilot through Parkland College.

 

[A former Marine and a Parkland Aviation student, Jeremy Russow takes to the air and fulfills a goal he set for himself.]

*****

There are so many things we want to accomplish in our lifetimes, yet it seems as though many things are just too far outside of our reach.

I remember taking a family vacation to Florida as a young child and that first experience flying. I was glued to the window as we taxied and prepared for takeoff. I remember the feeling as the plane accelerated, pressing me back into my seat, and I watched people, cars, and buildings begin to shrink as we climbed higher into the sky. This moment sparked an interest in aviation.

My mom still has a paper I wrote in discussing my dreams for the future. My third-grade teacher had asked us to answer two  questions: “If you could be one age and stay like that forever, what would it be, and why?” To this day, I don’t recall if I chose the age of 28 for a reason or arbitrarily, but I landed on that number because at that age I would be a pilot and could fly my family and friends all around the world.

So here I am today at 28 and, although I have yet to find the fountain of youth, I am finally making good on that goal from years past.

I find it exciting to be a part of this family at the Parkland College Institute of Aviation. Day One was all about getting to know your fellow students and staff. Of course there is paperwork to be done (would you expect anything less when it comes to the government?), but the staff makes the process very streamlined. Ground school classes are put together in a way that goes hand in hand with your lessons in the air for that week, so this definitely helps to reinforce the material as you learn it from book to practical application. The instructors and staff create a professional and fun learning environment, whether in the classroom or in the cockpit.

My first flight with Mandy (my flight instructor) was a bit surreal. We walked through the process of how to pre-flight the plane, from documents to weather to inspecting the aircraft. She took gradual steps to acclimate me to the entire process, and before you knew it, we were making our way to the runway and into the air. Even on the first flight, I got to start operating the controls. It was an awesome experience I will not soon forget.

After several months of flight and ground school, it was time for me to do my first solo. Mandy kinda sprung it on me one afternoon while practicing touch and go’s at the airport. After we landed the last time and taxied to the ramp, she asked if I wanted to solo. I was caught off guard at the thought, but extremely excited about it at the same time. We went inside, prepared my log book, and went over any questions I had before sending me off to continue practicing touch and go’s in the pattern around the airport. As I began to taxi on my own, it really hit me, “This is all on me now.” Caught between nerves and excitement I successfully landed the Piper Archer nine times on my own before having to head to my ground school class. The feeling would be best described as that first time at 16 when you take the car out on your own after getting your license. No one is there to help you if you mess up, and it is an absolute feeling of freedom, although now I am traveling in the air rather than on four wheels.

I encourage anyone who has a passion to fly and who may be looking for a place to learn, to put some serious thought into enrolling at the Parkland College Institute of Aviation. They have a professional, caring, and fun staff that will meet your needs as a student pilot. I come from a military background having served six years on active duty in the Marine Corps. There is a military veteran community there among the staff and alumni as well.

If you are a fellow service member, Parkland College can help you  use your GI benefits to make your dream of flying a reality. I know growing up I could never afford the cost of flight training, but this way, whether a veteran or not, I can budget the program through the college, and they can guide me with all of the information I need. I am nearing completion of my first semester here with Parkland, and I’m looking forward to completing my first milestone, a private pilot’s license, come spring/summer 2015.

Top Five Resume Mistakes

We critique a lot of resumes in the Parkland College Career Center (more than 600/year, but who’s counting?!). Here are the mistakes we see students make most often:

1) Wrong college name. Our college name is “Parkland College,” not “Parkland Community College.”
2) Your name doesn’t stand out. Enlarge and bold it!
3) Work experience isn’t stated in the right ‘tense’. If you’re no longer performing the work, you ‘did’ it. If you’re still performing the work, you’re ‘doing’ it.
4) You don’t list (or even know) your professional strengths. If you can’t sell your strengths, why should they hire you?
5) You don’t state your correct degree program. “Close enough” isn’t close enough.

Now that you’re armed with a better resume, want to know the hottest careers out there to get? You can pick up lots more information this Thursday, during Parkland’s Student-Parent Information Night. It’s  6 to 7:45 p.m. in Room U144.  You can even sign up there to win money that can help you take courses leading toward that new career.

While you’re at it, stop by and visit us at the Parkland College Career Center (Room U238)…your partner from the start!

Sandy and Rachel blog pic