Education and Work Center in Hanover Park receives $225,000 grant

The Education and Work Center (EWC) in Hanover Park, which provides basic skills training and employment services to a traditionally underserved area, recently received a $225,000 operations grant thanks to the successful efforts of Sen. Cristina Castro, Rep. Fred Crespo and Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig.

“This center has proven to be a vital asset to the community, helping equip residents with the basic skills necessary to further their educational goals and access better jobs,” said Dr. Ken Ender, president of Harper College. “We are grateful for the support of these legislators whose continued support has been instrumental in the success of this valuable partnership.”

The Education and Work Center is a partnership between Harper College, Elgin Community College, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and the village of Hanover Park.

Despite the state's historic two-year budget impasse, which had a devastating impact on colleges and universities in Illinois, last October Harper and ECC reaffirmed their commitment to continue the partnership through at least June 30, 2020.

“This center plays a critical role in meeting the educational needs of the Hanover Park community and beyond,” said Dr. David Sam, president of Elgin Community College. “We are pleased to have a strong partnership with legislators who recognized this need and took action. Adequate funding allows us to advance our shared mission to provide a quality education for students and to position them for gainful employment.”

Since opening in 2014, the center has seen nearly 19,000 new faces walk through its doors. The center is still reaching new customers, and in the past three months has seen 82 first-time visitors, in addition to enrolled students and repeat customers.

At the EWC, Elgin Community College and Harper College jointly provide English as a second language (ESL), adult basic and secondary education (high school equivalency) and Spanish high school equivalency classes for individuals 16 and older with less than a GED® test credential or high school equivalency certificate.

The on-site Illinois workNet® Center offers assistance with preparing for and identifying job opportunities and links individuals with other essential community resources in the area.