Members of the the Higher Education Commission on the Future of the Workforce, including NIU President Doug Baker, will hold their inaugural meeting this afternoon in Springfield.
Created by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the commission is comprised of legislators, presidents of institutions and representatives of business and industry.
The group’s purpose is to:
- Analyze workforce needs and educational degree production in each economic development region of the state;
- Identify partnerships to develop certificate and degree programs to address regional workforce needs;
- Examine existing partnerships among higher education sectors to increase degree completion, and explore opportunities to expand collaboration throughout the educational pipeline to address workforce demands;
- Develop strategies for alternative models for degree/credential production such as online learning and competency-based credits;
- Investigate incentives for working adults and those with substantial college credit but no degree to return to college;
- Explore strategies and practices in other states to incentivize certificate and degree completion.
James Applegate, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, chairs the group.
Other members include Illinois lawmakers Kelly Burke, Jacqueline Collins, Norine Hammond and Karen McConnaughay; Blackburn College President John Comerford; Danville Area Community College President Alice Marie Jacobs; Memorial Health System President and CEO Edgar Curtis; Aon Vice President of Global Affairs Bridget Gainer; Jason Keller, economic development director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; and John Rico, CEO of Rico Enterprises, Inc.
Illinois state educational and economic development agencies have been convened to assemble the staff, expertise, data and research needed to assist the commission as it examines and develops data, effective practices and policy recommendations to increase postsecondary education attainment and address regional workforce needs.
Upcoming meetings are scheduled Feb. 9, Feb. 24 and April 11.