Harper College

Business & Industry Leadership Teams (BILTs)

Employee partners
At Harper College, we believe in the power of collaboration to shape a stronger workforce and thriving community. As a forward-thinking institution, we are dedicated to establishing meaningful partnerships with employers and industry professionals like you. Together, we can bridge the gap between education and industry, ensuring our students graduate with the skills and knowledge that match your evolving needs.

Why partner with Harper?

Employers stand to gain numerous benefits by partnering with Harper. Partnerships offer a win-win situation, benefiting employers, students, faculty, and the College. Here are a few reasons why employers should be excited to partner with Harper.

  • Cutting-Edge Curriculum: Curriculum will be specifically designed to align with regional employer workforce needs and continuously updated to reflect the latest industry trends, best practices, and emerging technology advancements.
  • Access to Skilled Talent Pipeline: By engaging with us, employers gain access to a pool of skilled, diverse, talented students who are trained specific to industry needs and their chosen field. Employers can tap this talent pool to meet their labor demands.
  • Reduced Hiring Costs: Collaborating with Harper allows employers to recruit candidates who are already equipped with the required skills, reducing the need for extensive training and onboarding.
  • Efficient Recruitment: Employers can engage directly with students through job fairs, guest lectures, workshops, internships, and apprenticeships, streamlining their recruitment process.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Employers have access to a diverse talent pipeline, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable workforce.
  • Positive Impact on Students: Employers who provide internships, mentorships, and opportunities for hands-on experience positively impact students' educational journeys, enhancing their confidence and employability.

How can you partner with Harper?

Become a Business & Industry Leadership Team (BILT) member today! By collaborating closely with Harper, employers can help to create cutting-edge, industry-driven programs that produce job-ready graduates, bridge skills gaps, and contribute to the regional innovative ecosystem. Industry professional support this effort by:

  • Identifying Industry Needs and Trends: Validate and prioritize a pro forma list of knowledge, skills, and abilities annually to ensure programs align with the knowledge and skills needed within their industries and organizations. Meetings are designed to include time for industry trend discussions and networking.
  • Co-Leading Development of Curriculum: Collaborate with and provide input to faculty so they can develop curriculum that incorporates the employers' prioritized KSAs, practical skills, hands-on projects, and industry-relevant case studies. This ensures graduates possess the skills employers need 12-36 months into the future. Faculty continue to serve as the education and curriculum development experts.
  • Providing Workforce Insights: Invite community college faculty to their workplaces to gain first-hand insight into the employer organization's operations and needs. This experience informs the design of experiential learning opportunities and give faculty the opportunity to remain current with industry trends.
  • Offering Real-World Experience for Students: Provide students the chance to gain real-world experience through work-based and experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, apprenticeships, and job shadowing, providing them with a practical understanding of the industry. 
  • Establishing Technology Partnerships: Share technology or equipment to give students access to state-of-the-art tools and technologies to enhance learning and students' practical skills.
  • Supporting Hackathons and Competitions: Collaborate on hackathons, coding challenges, or competitions. These events encourage students to showcase their skills while addressing real-world problems.

Business and Industry Leadership Teams (BILT)

Harper's Innovation Accelerator is implementing new BILT advisory councils that engage technical executives, technicians, and other industry professionals to actively co-lead program focus and design.

What is the BILT advisory council?

The BILT model allows employers to be “co-leaders” with faculty continuing to serve as the education and curriculum experts. Faculty stays 100% in control of the curriculum. Employers focus on the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs)/Knowledge Units (KUs), not classroom content. Faculty design the curriculum based on employer input and decide how and when to cover the entry-level skills the employers request. The BILT model simply keeps the educators better informed.

How is the BILT structured?

Your time commitment is an average of 5-6 hours per year!

We know your time is valuable and the BILT process makes very efficient use of your time with very structured meetings that start and end on time. There are 3-4 meetings per year depending on the industry sector. Every year, one of the meetings (hybrid format) focuses solely on validating and prioritizing a list of KSAs (note: Cybersecurity uses KUs). This ensures curriculum remains relevant and current. After the KSA/KU meeting, there is a virtual feedback meeting at which faculty provide feedback to employers regarding KSAs/KUs that were incorporated into the curriculum and which were not, if any. Faculty provide justification should that happen and those are discussed. This closes the curriculum loop with our BILT members. The other two meetings are hybrid and virtual format and focus on industry trends, program updates, and networking. These meetings will engage BILT members, faculty, staff, and students.

While it takes only a small amount of your time, the benefits to our regional workforce and economic development will be massive and you will be making multi-generational changes in students lives.

Cybersecurity BILT

To address the massive shortage of qualified Cybersecurity job candidates in Northeast Illinois, Harper College is building an innovative business-led Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program funded by a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Labor. We are continuing to recruit new members for the Cybersecurity BILT. Please contact us at innovation@harpercollege.edu if you are interested in being a part of this exciting new program.


Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing BILT

To address the limited supply of skilled workers in Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing in Northeast Illinois, Harper College is building innovative business-led AI and Cloud Infrastructure programs funded by a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Labor. We are continuing to recruit employers, technical executives, technicians, specialists, and other industry professionals to join our AI/Cloud Computing BILT.


Other BILTs in Development

Harper is implementing BILT advisory councils across the College. Some areas and programs looking to create new curriculum or update existing curriculum to better meet employers needs using the BILT structure include:

  • Aviation (new)
  • Hospitality (existing)
  • Semiconductor/Nanotechnology (new)
  • Social Media Specialist (existing)
  • Customer Success and Sales (existing)

Join Harper in transforming education and training, preparing a skilled workforce, and driving regional economic development.  Together, we can build a brighter future for our students, your organization, and the entire community. If you are interested in participating in any of these BILTs, please contact us at innovation@harpercollege.edu


Innovation Accelerator logo

Last Updated: 4/20/24