Boone County Designated as an Illinois 60 by 25 Network Leadership Community
18 Jun 2021
Boone County, Illinois was recently designated as an Illinois 60 by 25 Network Leadership Community by public and private partners that lead the Illinois 60 by 25 Network, which is a network committed to ensuring that 60% of all Illinois adults have a college or career credential by 2025. This designation solidifies Boone County as a community dedicated to student, employee and employer success.
According to the Illinois 60 by 25 Network, “As a Leadership Community, Boone County is eligible to receive targeted technical assistance, capacity building, and funding to support community-level approaches to advance student success in life after high-school through strategies designed to achieve career readiness and college/credential attainment.”
Pamela Lopez-Fettes, Executive Director for Growth Dimensions Economic Development stated, “A majority of employers need employees who have a post-secondary degree or certification.” She continued, “This designation allows Boone County to enhance our network in order to provide opportunities to students, employees and employers.”
In order to be designated as a Leadership Community, communities must go through an extensive application process. Parts of the application are to develop a plan of action for working with partners to achieve a local and career outcome goal(s), create a community 60 by 25 plan, and identify partners who will serve as trusted intermediary organizations to build a strong and cohesive environment for success.
Belvidere Community Unit School District 100 laid the groundwork for Boone County’s designation when their Superintendent, Dr. Daniel Woestman, and the strategic planning team developed the mission statement, “To empower all learners to achieve personal excellence.”
“From there, we made advancements in career readiness programs and student-centered learning environments for secondary students.” commented Nik Butenhoff, Director of Career Readiness for District 100. “Becoming an Illinois 60 by 25 Network Leadership Community was a logical next step.”
Engaging additional community partners, District 100 began working with North Boone Community Unit School District 200 and Growth Dimensions Economic Development to formalize a plan to work together with local employers to develop career development experiences that align to the state’s endorsement framework. This collaborative partnership, coupled with the plan of action, cemented Boone County’s designation.
Over the next two years, District 100, District 200 and Growth Dimensions Economic Development will focus on five key goals.
- Support District 100 with implementation of college and career pathway endorsements as outlined in the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act. These pathways will need to demonstrate to students a clear path from secondary to postsecondary education and eventual careers.
- Support District 100 in implementing competency-based graduation requirements in high-school.
- Work with Rock Valley College to expand their early college credit options by exploring articulated and dual credit course offerings in the secondary buildings and dual credit options at RVC’s Advanced Technology Center(ATC).
- Develop a scholarship program that will allow District 100 students who have earned a College and Career Readiness endorsement the opportunity to attend postsecondary coursework at the ATC for free.
- Work with Growth Dimensions Economic Development to identify local manufacturer training opportunities at the ATC and connect employers to interested secondary students. As part of this work, District 100 will work to identify ways to incorporate the North Boone School District in District 100 career pathway initiatives including postsecondary opportunities at the ATC.
About Illinois 60 by 25 Network
Since its formation in 2013, the Illinois 60 by 25 Network has become a powerful peer-to-peer learning system for Illinois communities to improve college and career readiness and postsecondary completion rates. The three organizations that lead the Network (Advance Illinois, EdSystems and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission) have invited stakeholders from across the public, private, and non-profit sectors to serve as a Guiding Team to help guide, advise, and shape the direction of the Network in the future. For more information visit www.60by25.org.
About Growth Dimensions Economic Development
Established in 1979, Growth Dimensions Economic Development for Belvidere and Boone County, IL provides a progressive and cooperative environment which improves the quality of life by fostering economic opportunity and personal growth. With economic development partners throughout Belvidere-Boone County, Growth Dimensions is advancing a coordinated economic development strategy to create jobs, promote community assets and stimulate capital investment through business retention and attraction efforts. For more information visit www.growthdimensions.org.
About Belvidere Community Unit School District 100
Belvidere Community Unit School District 100 operates 11 schools, serving more than 7,500 students from Pre-K to 12th grade. District 100 strives to empower all learners to achieve personal excellence. For more information visit www.district100.com/.
About North Boone Community Unit School District 200
North Boone Community Unit School District 200 serves approximately 1800 students in pre-school through high school in the Villages of Caledonia, Capron and Poplar Grove as well as the northern tier of unincorporated Boone County, Illinois. For more information visit https://www.nbcusd.org/.