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April 2022
Celebrating the Impact of a Community College

As we celebrate National Community College Month this April, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the impact a community college can have on someone’s life through the eyes of one of our students, Logan Puckett of Pana.

The community colleges of Illinois serve the most diverse group of students and communities of any higher education option in Illinois. Community colleges feel like home, while offering a comprehensive higher education experience that expands students’ knowledge level and world view. At Lake Land College, we celebrate our differences and strive for an inclusive culture where everyone belongs.

In a recent essay, Logan Puckett said, “The accessibility of a community college has changed my life in how I see things as a student and as a person. It has allowed me the opportunity to be involved in many student organizations in the college. It is easier to be involved in a college like Lake Land College because it is a smaller college. For example, one feels more involved in the classroom, with the opportunity to work with other classmates, as well as ask professors for assistance for a specific problem. The college has also allowed me to be able to commute from home, which lets me be with my family.”

Community colleges’ degree and stackable certificate programs help all students forge a clear, personalized path toward their goal, giving them a sense of accomplishment and greater control over their future. Illinois is first in the nation in terms of its community college students earning bachelor’s degrees, and we are the largest provider of public workforce training in the state. We are outcomes-driven at Lake Land and are constantly assessing our progress in helping students reach their goals.

Community colleges make the proven and substantial benefits of higher education available to the greatest number of people by providing whatever it takes to help them succeed: affordable tuition and financial aid counseling, faculty mentoring, comprehensive student success services, and class schedules that allow students to fulfill their family and job responsibilities. We open up access to more rewarding futures.

“Since I was unable to afford to go to a large university, Lake Land College has helped me a lot financially and has made it possible to get a degree. This has meant a lot to me so much that it has and will continue to change my life,” Puckett, who is majoring in Business, wrote.

Even in the most challenging times, community colleges deliver education that is relevant and free of red tape. We meet students where they are, and make the most of their prior learning experiences. We can ramp up and re-engineer workforce development programs quickly, helping businesses and government stay ahead. We’re flexible, innovative and agile as is demonstrated by Lake Land College’s fast-track program development with area businesses such as North American Lighting.

Community colleges return our communities’ investment by boosting local education levels and social mobility, developing new generations of local leaders, and being a trusted, proactive partner for local economic and civic ambitions. We build individual and collective resilience. We’re dedicated and accountable to our communities. As demonstrated in our recent efforts to seek significant community input for our next strategic planning cycle, we not only value your input, we use it to grow and improve and in doing so, positively impact our communities and individuals.

“My community college (Lake Land College) can change the direction of anyone’s life. A college education is the main driver to lead many out of poverty, and the way to get out of poverty, or to avoid it is by studying at a community college. My community college has programs for both blue and white-collar workers, and at the same time, the programs are inexpensive,” Logan wrote.

I applaud Logan for sharing his personal story and for eloquently articulating the positive impact community colleges have on people’s lives. We are proud to serve Logan and the thousands of students at Lake Land College. We are equally proud to serve your community as one of the 48 community colleges of Illinois. During this April celebration, I invite you to consider how we can work together to expand opportunities for more students like Logan to grow from the experience of a community college education.

Lake Land College faculty selected Logan’s essay for the annual Paul Simon Student Essay contest sponsored by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA).

To read the full essay, please visit the Lake Land College Laker Life Blog.