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SIC White County Career and Technical Center is a Go

HARRISBURG, Ill. (Aug. 18, 2021) — The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met Tuesday, Aug. 17, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room to discuss the coming White County Career and Technical Center and enrollment, among other topics.

The board gave administration the go ahead to pursue the design and construction of the Career and Technical Center at Carmi, adding additional space beyond what the Capital Development Board (CDB) will already fund.

“SIC has waited for a long time to see this happen in White County, and the state has finally come through with their part of the funding,” said President Dr. Jonah Rice. “But what we need can’t be totally funded by the CDB, so the board will use remaining bond funds to supplement what is needed to make this a state-of-the-art facility for all sorts of career training.”

The facility will house space for welding, CDL (truck driving), automotive/diesel, and other career programs, as well as a possible allied health expansion.

“We are meeting with architects this week and hope to have a shovel in the ground by the end of this fall,” said SIC Executive Dean of Administrative Services Lisa Hite.  “The project will be just over $4 million and house space for CDL training, welding, among other programs.”

The project has been on the state books for over twenty years.

In other business, the board heard a report on the proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, which is projected to be balanced. The board will take action on this at the next meeting.

The board also heard reports on summer dual credit and a three-year report on high school graduate destinations.

“SIC is the No. 1 choice for college bound seniors in our district at over 60 percent,” said Rice. “When you factor in dual credit while they are in high school, that number increases substantially. However, what’s concerning is that we’re seeing more seniors who elect not to get any post-secondary education nor go into the military. That is concerning for our future workforce here and across the nation where many are seeing that same trend.”

Rice said he and other presidents have talked about this problem with local legislators to communicate the severity of the problem.

“We have implemented a pilot program to improve successful transitions from high school to college with one local high school we may be able to replicate,” said Vice President Dr. Karen Weiss. “We’ve also been awarded a two-year, $2 million grant to work with local high schools and other colleges to help foster student success. Additionally, we are applying for another grant to help with the college transition.”

The board reviewed a new policy revision on security clearance that will be voted on next month, and learned about progress regarding the new strategic plan and enrollment projections.

“Our freshman class is up 26 percent at this point which is an amazing rebound from last year,” said Executive Dean of Student Services Dr. Chad Flannery. “But we expect to finish a little down overall due to our extremely small freshman class last year during the COVID crisis.”

Administration said that increase was due to strong recruitment including new competitive teams and activities.

In personnel, the board approved a transition to full time position for Brian Rick, CTE Navigator; approved a job description for a full-time truck driving instructor; approved the employment of Paul Camaione as a full time information technology network technician; and approved the retirement of Assistant to the Director of the Small Business Development Center, Marcey Martin (effective Jan. 1, 2022) and math instructor Jerri Harbison (effective June 30, 2022).

The next meeting of the board will be Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room on the SIC Harrisburg campus. More information about SIC can be found at www.sic.edu.