Laker Nation News

Lake Land College Paris Plastics Manufacturing Program Press Conference

Posted on November 29, 2018

Lake Land College introduced the Paris community to its new plastics manufacturing program, the first of its kind in a 180-mile radius, on Thursday, Nov. 29.

The program meets the region’s need for skilled employees in the plastics manufacturing industry. Students will gain hands-on experience in injection and extrusion molding processes and equipment coupled with basic maintenance and automation skills used for several positions in plastics manufacturing.

“When Lake Land College approached us about using the VoTech Center to teach the classes, we thought it was a great opportunity for area residents to gain valuable skills,” said Paris Mayor Craig Smith.

Paris Economic Development Organization Director Terry Elston also showed support for the Lake Land program at the press conference saying “We applaud Lake Land College for working with our area businesses leaders to develop a program that is so timely and relevant to our region.”

The new program is a collaborative effort among several businesses, educational institutions and the community. Evening courses will be held for the first time beginning January 7 and will follow the semester schedule for the college, ending with finals the week of May 7.

“Lake Land College is proud to offer the new major exclusively in the city of Paris and have the mayor and city’s council’s support in hosting the lab at this location,” Lake Land College President Josh Bullock said.

Area companies such as North American Lighting and Libman Co. have already dedicated resources and funds to get the program started.

“We are grateful to NAL for donating two (2) 90-ton injection molding presses and a die to use with them,” Bullock said, “Early in the development process, The Libman Company, joined NAL in assisting the college in creating the program. The company donated $10,000 to the college as well as two used dies for the injection molding press.”

“We are also grateful to Eastern Illinois University for donating several pieces of equipment to be used in the lab,” Bullock said.

The Lake Land College Foundation also gifted an electric Toshiba 180-ton injection molding press. “We are fortunate to be a part of the new manufacturing program that will provide opportunities for residents to train for a career and will assist businesses in meeting the need for a highly skilled workforce,” Foundation Board President Michael Bohannon said.

To learn more about the new plastics program contact Michael Beavers, division chair of technology/electronics engineering instructor, at 217-234-5341 or To enroll in the courses, visit and select the “Enroll Now” button.


Lake Land College to Host LaunchCode Informational Night

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Lake Land College host an informational session about the new online IT-LaunchCode program on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kluthe Center for Higher Education and Technology in Effingham.

Lake Land College and LaunchCode are partnering to offer students an opportunity to train for a career in the fast growing field of web application development in just 20 weeks. Students will gain skills in Python, C#, SQL and full-stack development. Those who complete the program will earn a Lake Land College certificate as well as the opportunity to test for eight industry-leading Microsoft certifications.

The course will be offered online from Jan. 28–June 27.

James Munger, Lake Land College IT instructor/program coordinator, IT-Web Technology, who will be teaching the classes, will be available to meet with interested students.

Enrollment in the program is limited. The deadline to apply is Jan. 23 and an aptitude test is required. A practice test, FAQ and list of steps to get started can be found on the High Demand Programs page at Lake Land College representatives will be available to help students get started with the enrollment process or financial aid.

The program is offered through a collaborative agreement between the college and

LaunchCode, an innovative non-profit providing job seekers opportunities to enter the technology field. Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of Square, the payments processing company, founded LaunchCode to create pathways for people seeking careers in technology.

For more information about the informational meeting contact Munger at 217-234-5326 or

For more information about the IT-LaunchCode certificate program visit

Press Conference Announcing New Paris Plastics Manufacturing Program to be held November 29  

Posted on November 28, 2018


A press conference announcing Lake Land College’s new plastics manufacturing program with education, business and community leaders speaking on the value and impact of this new evening program held exclusively in Paris.

The Lake Land College Plastics Manufacturing is the first of its kind in a 180-mile radius. The program will provide a well-trained workforce to meet the needs of area plastics manufacturing companies.


The Vo-Tech Center, located in the former Paris High School,
55 W Crawford St. Paris, IL 61944


Thursday, November 29 at 9 a.m. Central Standard Time

Photo/Video Opportunities:

The plastics press conference will be held in a lab setting highlighting industry leading manufacturing equipment that will be used in class.

For more information about the press conference contact Kelly Allee, director of marketing & public relations, at or 217-234-5215.

For information about the plastics program visit:

Lake Land College Congratulates First IT-LaunchCode Graduating Class

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The first class of Lake Land College’s new IT-LaunchCode completed the 20-week web development program in October.

The new IT-LaunchCode program offers students an opportunity to train for a career in the fast growing field of web application development.

In just 20 weeks, students gained skills in Python, C#, SQL and full stack web development. Those who complete the program earned a Lake Land College certificate as well as the opportunity to test for eight industry-leading Microsoft certifications.

Web programmers and coders are in high demand. The US Department of Labor,, estimates that 1 million coding jobs will go unfilled by 2020 and that employment of web developers is projected to grow 32 percent through 2026.

James Munger, IT instructor, program coordinator, IT-web technology and LaunchCode instructor, said some of his best students were people with little prior knowledge of computer science. “One was a fork lift driver for seven years. Another one worked at Quad Graphics on the factory floor for 20 years and now is talking about getting his PhD in mathematics,” Munger said.

With the skills that one student gained in the course she was able to create her own inventory app to keep track of ingredients she used in her micro-brewing business. “She built that app herself and it works,” Munger said. “The technology that she used to do that is the same technology they used to do LinkedIn and Pinterest.”

The boot camp format is ideal for those who enjoy coding as a hobby, those who are seeking to advance in their careers or those who are good at logic puzzles and troubleshooting. Students can expect the program to be largely hands-on and project-based. “The LaunchCode program for web development stacks directly into top of my two year associates degree for web development,” If you have completed the LaunchCode program you have basically completed a fourth of the associates program.

One student that recently completed the program, Patrick Pape, said that he was impressed with the content the course covered. “The depth and breadth of topics covered was fascinating.  From operating systems, hardware, program languages, servers, web browsers, and database management; the foundation for understanding has been firmly established.”

“I really would recommend this program to someone interested in the field.  The course is accessible to people of really any age, and without much familiarity with coding,” Pape said.

The next IT-LaunchCode class will begin January. Students interested in IT-LaunchCode need to apply by January 23, 2019. An aptitude test is required. Classes will meet in an online format, including some optional lab nights at Lake Land College in Mattoon from Jan. 28, 2019 through June 27, 2019. The class is available until all seats are filled. For more information, visit

LaunchCode is an innovative non-profit providing job seekers opportunities to enter the technology field. Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of Square, the payments processing company, founded LaunchCode to create pathways for people seeking careers in technology. Lake Land College is partnering with LaunchCode with the support of The Effingham Regional Growth Alliance, the countywide economic development organization. The Alliance will be seeking local companies and individuals who are interested in supporting students with scholarships or internship opportunities.

Lake Land College offers a Crochet and Cocoa Class

Posted on November 26, 2018

Lake Land College is offering a Crochet and Cocoa class at the Workforce Development Center, 305 Richmond Avenue East, Mattoon. The two-hour class will be held Monday, Dec. 17, 2018 and meet from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Students will be treated to a yummy hot cocoa bar while Instructor Shirley Splittstoesser teaches the method of crocheting a scarf. These will make wonderful Christmas gifts, or keep you warm during the winter. A selection of colorful yarns will be included.

Students will need to bring an “H” crochet hook (5.00mm), “I” hook (5.50mm), or a “J” hook (6.00mm) depending on the preference of scarf thickness. Those who want a closer weave will use the smaller hook while the larger hook produces a larger weave.

Previous crocheting experience is not necessary. The cost is $25 for the class.

To register, go to Drop date for a refund is five business days prior to the class. For more information, contact Jackie Wake, professional development support, at 217-234-5087 or email

Lake Land College Names 2018-2019 Student Ambassadors

Posted on November 21, 2018

Lake Land College recently named its student ambassadors for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Ambassadors this year are:  Sam Bricker, agriculture, Greenfield, Indiana; Eusebio Briseno, business administration, Arthur; Madison Carson, ag business & supply, Saint Elmo; Kourtney Cordes, chemistry, Effingham; Blair Cupps, agriculture, Bellview Bottoms, Kentucky; Maddie Fugate, agriculture, Mahomet; Parker Gann, economics, Paris; Ashlyn Gilpin, pre- veterinarian, Dallas City; Danelle Helton, business administration, Shelbyville; Payton Hines, agriculture, Quincy, Michigan; Ashley Miller, agriculture, Armington; Seth Mitchell, agriculture, Olney; Murray Perkins, agriculture, Buchanan, Tennessee; Tessa Philpot, English, St. Elmo; Sydney Trainor, pre- veterinarian, Shelbyville.

Student ambassadors are a select group of students chosen to serve as official representatives of Lake Land College. The ambassadors assist the college by informing prospective students of the opportunities available to them at Lake Land. In addition, they assist with several campus organizations and personnel with special functions. The ambassadors receive a $500 yearly scholarship.

To become an ambassador, students must meet the following criteria:

  • be at least a half-time student for both fall and spring semesters
  • maintain a 2.5 GPA
  • complete an application
  • complete an interview

Once students are selected, they attend training sessions and weekly meetings to learn more about the college. During the school year, the ambassadors give tours of the campus, attend college/career fairs, visit high schools and assist with special school functions.

For more information, visit

Lake Land College Student Ambassadors for 2018-2019
Lake Land College recently announced the 2018-2019 Student Ambassadors.
Pictured in the front row, left to right are:
Blair Cupps, agriculture, Bellview Bottoms, Kentucky; Madison Carson, ag business & supply, Saint Elmo; Ashlyn Gilpin, pre- veterinarian, Dallas City; Danelle Helton, business administration, Shelbyville; Tessa Philpot, English, St. Elmo; Sydney Trainor, pre- veterinarian, Shelbyville; Maddie Fugate, agriculture, Mahomet.
Pictured in the second row, left to right are: 
Payton Hines, agriculture, Quincy, Michigan; Murray Perkins, agriculture, Buchanan, Tennessee; Eusebio Briseno, business administration, Arthur; Seth Mitchell, agriculture, Olney; Sam Bricker, agriculture, Greenfield, Indiana; Parker Gann, economics, Paris; Kourtney Cordes, chemistry, Effingham; Ashley Miller, agriculture, Armington.

Prospective Students Invited to Laker Visit Day

Posted on November 19, 2018

Prospective college students and their parents are invited to learn more about Lake Land College at Laker Visit Day on Dec. 7.

Beginning at 9 a.m. in the Luther Student Center Lobby and running until noon, Laker Visit Day provides an opportunity for students to tour campus, visit a class, meet current students and talk with faculty. Parents and guardians are welcome to attend and learn more about the college during a parent session.

Representatives from Admissions & Records, Financial Aid, Counseling Services, Career Services, Student Life, and other departments will provide information and answer questions. The event includes informational sessions by current Lake Land College Student Ambassadors and college staff. Participants will also meet with faculty members in their academic area of interest.

“Laker Visit Day is a great way for prospective students and parents to talk to faculty and staff about academic options and majors, to talk to current students about their experiences at the college and to learn about financial aid options and opportunities,” Michelle Zumbahlen, coordinator for strategic student communication & initiatives, said.

Guests should be prepared to walk the beautiful campus. To get to the Luther Student Center take Entrance 1 from Route 45, turn right after the curve and park in Lot B. Then, walk toward the Bookstore and Board & Administration Center and proceed to the interior of the campus. Student Ambassadors will be stationed in these areas to greet guests and help with directions. In case of inclement weather on the day of the event, please check the college’s homepage at for closures.

For more information, or to reserve a space for Laker Visit Day, register online at or call 217-234-5377.

Lake Land College Board of Trustees appoints new vice president for student services

Posted on November 12, 2018

The Lake Land College Board of Trustees appointed Beth Gerl of Westminster, Maryland, to assume the role of vice president for student services effective February 1, 2019.

The board took action following a closed session during the regular monthly meeting on Nov. 12, 2018. Gerl will succeed Tina Stovall, who will retire in January following a combined total of 25 years at the college.

Gerl has an extensive background in student services and spent the past 13 years as the vice president for student affairs and dean of students at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. Her areas of responsibility included residence life, judicial affairs, Title IX, student conduct, student activities, Greek affairs, orientation, health and counseling services, diversity and inclusion, food service, campus center operations, department of campus safety, career services and the threat assessment and crisis management team.

Lake Land College President Josh Bullock said Gerl’s vast experience in a diverse set of student service areas and her commitment to student success are closely aligned with the vice presidency at Lake Land College.

“We are fortunate to find in Ms. Gerl a candidate who has both the professional experience in student services and the passion for creating opportunities for students to succeed,” Bullock said. “Throughout her career, she has always made time to meet with students and listen to their thoughts, share in their accomplishments and work with them to find solutions. We look forward to welcoming her to campus and to her leadership of a strong student services unit.”

Gerl said she looks forward to returning to Illinois and working at a college with a tradition of putting students first.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected as the next vice president for student services at Lake Land College. I look forward to serving Lake Land College and the local community by building on the many successes that have been achieved. There is so much alignment between my leadership approach and Lake Land College’s mission of engaging minds and changing lives. As a first-generation college student who grew up and attended college in Central Illinois, I look forward to returning to my roots,” Gerl said.

Gerl has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in counselor education/higher education from Illinois State University.

The Lake Land College vice president for student services position provides leadership and vision for all student services areas and works as part of the leadership team to create and sustain a student-centered learning environment.

Gerl has a breadth of higher education leadership experience spanning more than 30 years that ranges from designing and implementing campus facilities, facilitating new identity and branding opportunities, to creating an identity-safe educational setting that supports low-income, first generation and underrepresented students.

Prior to her work at McDaniel College, Gerl served as the vice president and dean of students at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama where she provided oversight to intercollegiate athletics, recreation and intramurals, student activities, the wellness center, emergency/hurricane operations, food service, residence life and orientation. She has also served in leadership positions at Hendrix College, University of Mount Union, Wittenberg University and Illinois State University




Lake Land College Community Choir Holiday Concert

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The Lake Land College Community Choir will present a holiday concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18 in the Lake Land College Theater.

The choir will perform selections from My Fair Lady, and singers will “dream the impossible dream” in a set of songs about dreams and dreaming. Christmas music includes traditional British songs in a medley titled Medieval Carol Fantasy, and an arrangement of “The First Noel.” Drummer Alek Mann of Mattoon will set the pace for Frank Sinatra’s “Mistletoe and Holly,” as well as “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” and toes will tap to an updated version of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” titled “Swingin’ St. Nick.”

A reception will follow in the dining area at the college.

Under the direction of Nancy Caldwell, music instructor, the Community Choir is a choir of mixed voices including students from the college as well as members of surrounding communities such as Mattoon, Charleston, Effingham, Neoga, Arthur, Sigel, and Lovington. Randy Imig of St. Elmo accompanies the choir.  The Community Choir was formed in January of 1998 and performs two concerts annually.

Due to construction behind the Luther Student Center where the Theater is located, concert attendees are advised to park in Parking Lot B or Parking Lot F, and follow the signs to the Theater. The concert is free and open to the public.

Lake Land College and LSC Communications to Offer Fast Track to Jobs with Tuition Guarantee

Posted on November 9, 2018

Lake Land College and LSC Communications are offering an eight-week fast track training program beginning Jan. 7 that leads to a job at the printing facility in Mattoon. Tuition and fees are guaranteed for students who are accepted into the program.

Individuals who complete the training will receive a college certificate and will be hired by LSC Communications in the positions of bindery operator, press operator or assistant press operator at wages of $16 to $18 per hour. Once hired, the employee will enter into an apprenticeship to learn the detailed craft of printing.

Those interested in the program can attend the informational session on Dec. 5, 2018 at the Lake Land College Workforce Development Center, 305 Richmond Ave., E, Mattoon at 6:30 p.m. Details of the Manufacturing Skills training program will be discussed as well as application requirements and discuss financial resources available to pay for the classes. Applicants will be required to complete drug screening and a background check.

Under the Lake Land College guaranteed financial assistance program, students will first apply for state and federal financial assistance and WIOA funding. Should those sources not cover the costs, Lake Land College will waive any tuition and mandatory fees that remain. Tuition and fees for the 16-hour LSC Fast Track program are estimated at $2,300 per student.

Classes will start Jan. 7 and go from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Workforce Development Center. The program will span eight weeks, ending on March 6.

John Price graduated from the LSC Fast Track program in July, immediately started working at LSC, and is currently working as a stitching operator.

“By completing the training program I have been able to take advantage of several opportunities to advance at LSC,” Price said.

LSC Communications prints, assembles and ships magazines, catalogs and books in the 1.3 million-square-foot facility.

“Everything we do here is extremely detail oriented and highly technical,” Jim Lanman, vice president of operations at LSC Communications, said. “We are looking for people who are interested in technology and want a hands-on experience.”

Lanman said LSC offers opportunities for career advancement and has many employees who have been there for decades. The positions include full benefits including health, dental, vision and vacation. The facility includes a weight room, locker rooms and a full-service cafeteria.

“We have been making a concerted effort to be more involved in the community and partnering with Lake Land will help us reach that goal. The plant employs nearly 700 full-time staff but we are always looking for new and inspired talent,” Lanman said.

For more information about the program, contact Bonnie Moore, director to Center for Business and Industry, at 217-238-8260 or bmoore71258@lakelandcollege.

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