July 13 – Recent high school graduates were able to celebrate the completion of a five week summer math boot camp.
The Education Coalition of Macon County, Richland Community College and Workforce Investment Solutions partnered to host the math boot camp, “Bridging the Gap.” It’s the 2nd year for the program.
The camp is for high school or GED graduates. The programs purpose is to improve math scores for high school students who have recently graduated and plan to attend Richland Community College in the fall semester.
Keynote speakers at the event were President of the Economic Development Corporation, Ryan McCrady and On-Air personality with Neuhoff Media, Terrence “TAT” Taylor.
McCrady says the students are not only helping themselves through the boot camp, but they’re helping the community’s future as well.
“What I hope they take away is they understand that they are part of improving the community just by improving themselves,” says McCrady. “The best way to attract and retain employers is to have a good trained and available workforce. The effort they’re taking to become well trained actually helps me do my job. It’s a partnership and everybody can be involved in economic development and by just improving their skill base they are being involved.”
Now that the students have completed the five week math boot camp they will get to try out an internship. Some of the participating business internships are the Children’s Museum of Illinois, Richland Community College, Decatur Daycare and at the State’s Attorney Office. Job shadowing locations include St. Mary’s and AKORN pharmaceuticals.
Director of Workforce Investment Solutions, Robyn McCoy, she thinks the boot camp is a tremendous opportunity for the students to get the academic foundation and to enhance essential skills like work ethic.
“They don’t even realize they’re developing a work ethic,” says McCoy. “At school they showed up on time every day and had some responsibilities for completing assignments and those are transferable skills into the world of work. Now they can demonstrate that in their internship prior to fall semester start.”
Executive Director of the Education Coalition of Macon County, Dani Craft, says she was impressed by the students drive to be able to hold summer jobs and still make time to be a part of the math boot camp.
Karl Coleman a recent Decatur MacArthur high school graduate says he signed up for the math boot camp to improve his math skills and to get out of unaccredited math classes to further his math courses at Richland.
“The internship that goes along with the class is very beneficial as well,” says Coleman. “It’s a good networking experience for young adults such as myself to get used to the business world.
He says his future career plans are to be a politician, something he says he’d love to do.
Student participants received certificates of completion after the keynote speakers gave their presentations.