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November 2022
Reaching Adult Learners

Adult student enrollment has flattened over the past few years at Lake Land College and throughout the nation. With future projections showing only 1% growth nationally, it’s time for higher education to examine its future.

Traditionally, when area adult students decided it was time to finish the college education they started years ago or wanted a fulfilling new job, they turned to a traditional college such as Lake Land or Eastern Illinois University.

Today, in addition to a traditional college, adults have a multitude of options to consider in completing their goals. To meet the needs of adult learners, educational options must be flexible, by creating programs with immediate access, credentials for specific skillsets and accelerated times to completion. Flexibility is essential for an adult to fit a college education into their busy life.

This mindset is at the center of Lake Land’s 2023-2027 Strategic Plan. When completed, Lake Land College will have expanded our offerings for relevant, just-in-time training and educational programs that compete with the current marketplace of on-demand online courses and programs, open entry, work-at-your-own pace and accelerated timelines.

While we have our work cut out for us, our faculty and staff are already addressing many of these issues through several exciting initiatives.

Lake Land is a leader in assisting all students who need to take developmental education programs. With new math and English remediation programs, students are now taking developmental courses as co-requisites, thus saving on tuition and even more importantly, succeeding in these challenging subjects.

One of our newer programs, Court Reporting and Captioning is the first to offer students the innovative opportunity to work at their own pace for a skills-based component of the program. Students can advance through the speed building courses at their own pace which provides flexibility and accommodations to all students.

Another way in which faculty are providing flexibility to students is through the new HyFlex, HD video conferencing classrooms that allow students to attend some class either in person or remotely, depending on their daily schedules.

We’ve also partnered with industry to develop leading-edge Registered Apprenticeships in high demand fields, such as CDL, Industrial Maintenance Repair, Automotive Technician, Industrial Maintenance Mechanic and Fleet Driver. These earn-as-you-learn programs provide adults with a pathway to a life-sustaining career while creating a pipeline of talent for area business. If you, or your organization, would like to learn more about this opportunity, please reach out to Director for Center for Business & Industry Bonnie Moore.

On an individual basis, our Community Outreach Coordinator Brittany Aitken is visiting area businesses and talking one-on-one with employees who are seeking to learn a new skill or ease back into college. Last year, she helped 45 individuals get started with a 3-credit-hour tuition waiver. This year, there will be 100 tuition waivers available. If you, or your organization, would like to learn more about this opportunity, please reach out to Brittany.

It is clear, we have our work cut out for us, as we look ahead to meet the needs of the area’s adult learners with innovative options that allow them to define their own success. I look forward to discussing how Lake Land plans to navigate the changing landscape of higher education to successfully serve the adult students and businesses in our communities.