Jim Haverstick, Author at Southwestern Illinois College

SWIC 2021 SkillsUSA PMT National Winners

Southwestern Illinois College students earned bronze medals at the 2021 National SkillsUSA competition held in July. SWIC students, from left to right, include Bryce Griggs of Granite City, Alex MidKiff of Belleville, Billy Laycock of Marine, Philip Culiberk of Maryville, Steven Boss of O’Fallon and Will Andersen of St. Louis.  Laycock, MidKiff and Andersen won as a team in Automated Manufacturing Technology; Boss earned a medal for CNC Milling; and Culiberk took his prize in the CNC Technician category. Griggs competed at the state level but was unavailable to compete at the national level. Andersen said the most challenging part about the competition was coordinating all of their efforts so they worked together smoothly as a team. SkillsUSA is a national technical education organization that partners educators, employers and students to teach greater skills to Americans. The SkillsUSA Championships are competitive events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Due to COVID restrictions, competitors completed their projects at their respective colleges. SWIC Precision Machining students have won 13 national machining medals in the last 10 years, the most by any college in the country.

SWIC Releases Spring 2021 Semester Graduate List

The following is a list of Southwestern Illinois College students who graduated at the conclusion of the Spring 2021 Semester. The students’ names are listed alphabetically according to hometown.

The list also denotes students who graduated with honors (a 3.5 grade point average or higher) and with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

SWIC Spring 2021 Graduate List.

For more information, contact SWIC Enrollment Services at 618-235-2700,
ext. 5455 or 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5455.

SWIC Releases Spring Semester 2021 Dean’s List

The following is a list of full- and part-time students on the Southwestern Illinois College Dean’s List for the Spring 2021 Semester.

This list includes full-time students who completed 12 or more semester credits during the semester and part-time students who completed six or more semester credits during the semester while maintaining a 3.5 or higher grade point average.

The students’ names are listed alphabetically according to hometown:

SWIC Spring 2021 Deans List

For more information, contact SWIC Enrollment Services at 618-235-2700, ext. 5455 or 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5455.

SWIC student wins Head of the Class award for HVAR skills

Hard work and dedication have paid off for a Southwestern Illinois College Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration student.

Donald Rommerskirchen of Highland was chosen by the college’s HVAR program for the Head of Class award. Presented by tool supplier, Malco, the award recognizes perfect attendance, class participation and a willingness to learn. All candidates are top students recommended by instructors.

“This is a great program,” he said. “You learn from a variety of instructors who have a wide variety of expertise and experience working on residential and commercial equipment.”

Rommerskirchen, who retired from a career in maintenance at a correctional facility, hopes to open his own HVAR business when he graduates at the end of the summer. His goal is to install and repair HVAR equipment at an affordable price.

“He’s a really dedicated student,” said HVAR Program Coordinator Keith Otten. “I can always count on him to help instructors in class and help other students who are just starting out.”

SWIC offers a two-year, 72-semester-credit Associate in Applied Science degree and a one-year, 45-semester-credit certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.

 For more information on the SWIC HVAR program, call Otten at 618-931-0600, ext. 5175 or visit swic.edu/havr.

Gov. Pritzker Announces $15M Investment to Create Two State of the Art Manufacturing Training Academies Downstate

KTVI Channel 2 news: SWIC to develop new manufacturing training academy with state grant


Funding from Bipartisan Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan Will Establish Two New, Cutting Edge Training Academies to Prepare Illinoisans for Future Jobs and Boost Investment in Downstate Communities 

NORMAL, IL – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), joined by Heartland Community College and Rivian, today announced an investment to build two advanced manufacturing training academies to expand training for high-demand manufacturing jobs in Illinois. A $15 million capital investment through the Governor’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan will establish two downstate manufacturing training academies that will provide hundreds of Illinois residents the opportunity to develop specialized skills for a career in advanced manufacturing.

“Today, I’m proud to announce the winning projects that will launch two cutting edge new programs here in Illinois, which will begin enrolling students later this year,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This capital investment – spurred by our historic Rebuild Illinois capital program – builds on the funding that Rebuild already devotes to upgrading and expanding facilities at Illinois community colleges, cementing their key role in continuing to train our young workforce, and lifelong learners keeping their skills fresh. Today is just one indicator of the job and skills growth our state is seeing. Workforce investments like those we’re announcing here foreshadow even more good jobs we can fill in the future.”

The new training facilities will be established at Heartland Community College (HCC) in Normal, and Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) in Metro East.  State funds will be met with $4.95 million in matching commitments for capital projects, as well as additional support from employers and regional partners to establish new training academies.

“Today’s announcement delivers on a key commitment made under Governor Pritzker’s 5-year economic plan, which calls for investments in downstate communities to prepare our next generation of workers with a pathway to well-paying jobs of the future,” said Sylvia Garcia, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.  “As the electric vehicle industry and other advanced manufacturing roles see increasing demand – in Illinois, we are preparing to seize those jobs, with investments made across our communities and to maintain our state as a top destination for companies to grow and invest.”

Programs are expected to launch later this year, enrolling hundreds of students in the first year of the program. While each program will have a different focus, both will help meet the demand for state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing training downstate, preparing Illinoisans to seize on advanced careers in the manufacturing sector in the years ahead.

“Community Colleges play an essential role in providing affordable and equitable access to education, and in turn, a pathway to sustainable careers. And partnership is key to building and maintaining the workforce needed to fulfil the promise of innovation in technical education and to grow the economy,” said Heartland Community College President Keith Cornille. “Working with the DECO and Rivian, and our other regional manufacturing partners, we gain key pieces in providing a pathway to a sustainable career for students both coming right out of High School and also those who look to re-enter the workforce. With the new Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy, Heartland Community College will be a hub for innovation, and a resource for those looking for upskilling in a wide variety of occupations.”

At Heartland, a $7.5 million grant from the State will enable the development of the new Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy (EVES). This first-of-its-kind EV manufacturing training program is made possible by a partnership with electric vehicle manufacturer, Rivian, which is expected to create an additional 1,600 jobs in the next two years alone. Matching state funds with a $1.5 million private employer commitment, HCC will develop a new auto shop used exclusively for training for EV manufacturing. This program will help meet growing needs of the region and will prepare Illinois to seize on the rapid growth of the EV industry, with Illinois jobs expected to double by 2024.

“Rivian is honored to have supported the leadership of Governor Pritzker in establishing the Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy,” said James Chen, Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Regulatory Counsel for Rivian. “This project will help prepare local workers for the well-paid, technical jobs that the clean energy transition requires.  This project also reflects Rivian’s core values of community empowerment, innovation, and a strong foundation for the continued growth and success of the electric vehicle industry. We thank Governor Pritzker, the Illinois DCEO, and Heartland Community College for making this academy a reality.”

At SWIC, a second $7.5 million grant will create a new manufacturing education hub in Belleville – expanding upon the school’s successful manufacturing training facilities. The Advanced Manufacturing Center will break ground in 2021 and will welcome students into its new facilities by fall 2022. The project will be completed in two phases: with the first creating a new precision machining pathway; and the second aiming to expand career training for roles in industrial electricity and welding manufacturing. Construction on a new 31,100 SF lab space complete will provide new computers and other specialized equipment. This new program will also prioritize helping to address equity gaps in the region – with SWIC creating a new diverse recruitment program to help ensure more minority and women students can participate in newly created training.

“One of Southwestern Illinois College’s primary goals is to train students for well-paying, highly skilled, in-demand career fields, and the construction of a manufacturing training academy will bolster these efforts,” said SWIC President Nick Mance. “In light of the unemployment rate and economic distress in the area, it is more crucial than ever that students embark on a viable career pathway that leads directly to steady employment paying a living wage or better.”

“Manufacturing remains an important and growing industry for our state, and we are poised, with the right investments, to ensure more Illinoisans get the opportunities they need to train for these 21st century jobs,” said Brian Durham, Executive Director of the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). “These training academies will address a skills shortage in the manufacturing industry and adopt new technologies in manufacturing production while meeting the needs of many regional employers, located in these downstate communities.”

“This grant is a natural fit for Heartland Community College and will enhance every aspect of manufacturing training and education for students! The proximity of Heartland and Rivian Motors will be a strong connection for the technology needs for Students and this funding will be a great foundation of investment,” said Deputy Republican Leader Dan Brady. “Thank you, Governor Pritzker, Heartland President Keith Cornille, and trustees. I am pleased to have played a part in this education, and jobs training investment!”

“This is an important grant that will help this program to train people to be successful in high tech careers with employers such as Rivian,” said State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington). “It’s good to see the state step up to help keep our workforce ready for a changing and ever-competitive global economy.”

Since taking office, Governor Pritzker has prioritized making investments in the manufacturing industry that will create jobs, advance access to training, and maintain Illinois as a top destination for manufacturing growth and innovation. This includes the creation of the apprenticeship tax credit to further establish and build out the pipeline of skilled talent of advanced manufacturers in our state to help prepare Illinois to seize the new jobs created by this growing industry in the years ahead. Additionally, the Governor’s pledge to make Illinois a clean energy state by 2050 is predicted to increase jobs in the EV sector.

For more information on the two Manufacturing Training Academies programs, please visit DCEO’s website.

Fire Science program receives equipment donation

Thanks to O’Fallon Fire Department and Chief Brad White, the Southwestern Illinois College Clay Baitman Fire Science Training Center received a donation of Amkus and Phoenix Vehicle Extrication Tools. These tools will be used to train firefighters across the program in various specialties. The SWIC Fire Science training program includes a two-year, 66-semester-credit Associate in Applied Science degree with Fire Protection Administration and Fire-Rescue Specialist options. Eleven certificates, ranging from Vehicle Rescue Operations to Hazardous Materials First Responder, help firefighters develop specific skills. The Clay Baitman Fire Science Training Center, located on Freeburg Avenue in Belleville, is used for hands-on training designed to meet various national fire service training standards. For more information, visit swic.edu/fire-science.

Southwestern Illinois College Team Featured in Pilot Episode of ‘Clash of Trades’ and Advancing to National Skilled Trades Competition

A team of students from Southwestern Illinois College are finalists in the Project MFGTM National Challenge this month, a skilled trades competition for a chance to win scholarships, prizes and title of national champion. The team will be featured in the upcoming pilot episode of Clash of Trades to celebrate National Welding Month in April.

The students will compete in a two-day challenge March 24 and 25, 2021, at the SWIC Sam Wolf Granite City Campus, with a film crew on site to capture the event. The team, along with three other teams from across the country, advanced to the national competition after rigorous judging in complex advanced manufacturing skills. Teams work together in a challenge that mirrors the real-world, hands-on skillsets needed to succeed in advanced manufacturing.

The SWIC team includes students Gavin Becherer of Troy, Connor Barnard of Godfrey and Connor Braasch of Troy.

The teams from Danville Community College, Calhoun Community College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, and Southwestern Illinois College were selected based on rigorous judging of a complex advanced manufacturing project and conclude the 2020 competition series that was delayed due to COVID-19.

Each team is comprised of current or recently graduated students who are learning a skilled trade. The teams work together in a challenge that mirrors real-world, hands-on skillsets needed to succeed in advanced manufacturing.

The pilot episode of Clash of Trades will premiere on YouTube on April 20, 2021, at 7 pm CST, when the national champion will be revealed. The show will provide an engaging look at each team’s story and their approach to completing the challenge, judged by a panel of expert judges. The show intends to change the perception of the skilled trades by highlighting the stories of individuals entering the field and the high-tech, future-focused work of the US manufacturing industry. Those who register to view Clash of Trades on April 20 can enter a chance to win a $2500 scholarship.

The manufacturing industry is experiencing exponential change and new technologies are not eliminating jobs as some predicted. Studies have found the reverse – more jobs are being created. The skills gap may leave more than 2 million positions unfilled if more young people don’t enter the skilled trades. The US Department of Defense declared this deficit as one of the most vital challenges for the US defense industrial base.

Project MFG shines a light on the need and opportunities for skilled trades by focusing on the development of new talent to provide a path forward for individuals and our country. Project MFG competitions throughout the United States promote the trades across industries and help advance the next generation of highly skilled trade professionals. As an integrated workforce development and recruitment effort, Project MFG collaborates across communities, the private sector and government to expand the US industrial base workforce.

Project MFG is a program of the Global Learning Accelerator Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit, funded by the Department of Defense, and operated and managed by RD Solutions, LLC. The mission of the Global Learning Accelerator is helping people find the nexus between their passions and what the world needs.

For more information about the SWIC Technical Education program, visit
swic.edu/tech-ed. For more information about Project MFG and the Clash of Trades premiere on April 20, 2021, please visit: www.projectmfg.com.

SWIC Earns 2021-2022 Military Friendly® School Designation

Southwestern Illinois College announced today, Feb. 26, 2021, that it has earned the designation of 2021-2022 Top 10 Military Friendly ® School.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly ® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. Over 1,200 schools participated in the 2021-2022 survey with 747 earning the designation.

“We’re very proud to provide a welcoming environment for our active-duty military and veteran students, and help them earn a college education through their education benefits,” said SWIC President Nick Mance. “In addition, we’ve enjoyed a longstanding mutually beneficial partnership with Scott Air Force Base.”

SWIC has the largest population of student veterans of all colleges and universities in the state. Ten percent of currently enrolled students use military educational benefits.

Established in 1946, SWIC serves the more than 300,000 residents of Community College District 522 through campuses in Belleville, Granite City and Red Bud plus numerous off-campus sites, including Scott Air Force Base and the East St. Louis Higher Education Center.

SWIC offers more than 150 affordable degree and certificate program options – including online and accelerated courses – for students who want to transfer to a university or prepare to enter the workforce. Articulation agreements with public and private colleges and universities help to ensure the transfer process is seamless for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

The 2021-2022 Military Friendly® Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at militaryfriendly.com.

Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly ® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community.

Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey response set and government/agency public data sources, within a logic-based scoring assessment. Military Friendly also measures the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

“Military Friendly ® is committed to transparency and providing consistent data driven standards in our designation process. This creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages colleges to consistently evolve and invest in their programs. Schools who achieve designation show true commitment and dedication in their efforts. Our standards assist schools by providing a benchmark that promotes positive educational outcomes, resources, and support services that better the educational landscape and provide opportunity for the Military Community,” said Kayla Lopez, National Director of Military Partnerships, Military Friendly ®

For information about SWIC student veteran programs, visit swic.edu/veterans.

 About Military Friendly ® Schools: The Military Friendly ® Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using public data sources for more than 8,800 schools nationwide, input from student veterans, and responses to

the proprietary, data -driven Military Friendly® Schools survey from participating institutions. The survey questions, methodology, criteria and weighting were developed with the assistance of an independent research firm and an advisory council of educators and employers. The survey is administered for free and is open to all post-secondary schools that wish to participate.

Criteria for consideration can be found at militaryfriendly.com.

Founded in 2001, VIQTORY is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities through its G.I. Jobs® and Military Friendly® brands. VIQTORY and its brands are not a part of or endorsed by the U.S. Dept of Defense or any federal government entity. Learn more about VIQTORY at viqtory.com.

SWIC to hold tuition rate steady for fourth consecutive year

Good news for Southwestern Illinois College students. The Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to keep the tuition rate at $113 per semester credit for the 2021 school year.

The college has not raised its tuition or $6 information technology fee   or $3 student services fee since 2017. SWIC students pay only $122 tuition and fees per semester credit for classes, the lowest tuition rate in the state.

“The pandemic has caused financial hardships for so many people in our community,” said SWIC President Nick Mance. “The Board felt it would be in our students’ best interest to keep the tuition at an affordable, steady rate. We want to ensure a college education is accessible to all.”

SWIC students pay a fraction of state and private university costs. The average cost for a full-time student to attend SWIC for two years is $7,808. The average tuition for two years at a public university is $19,374 and a private university is $70,174, according to usnews.com.

“Students can save money by earning their associate degree at SWIC, then transferring to a university to complete their bachelor’s degree,” Mance said. “Or they can train for a variety of well-paying jobs in two years or less. Graduates can enter the workforce without massive student loan debt.”

Residents of Missouri and other surrounding states can also attend SWIC for only $122 per semester credit.

“We have a number of academic programs that community colleges in other states don’t have, so last year we opened the door to out-of-state students,” Mance said. “Out-of-state tuition was previously cost prohibitive; we’ve removed that barrier.” 

Some of SWIC’s more popular programs include: Aviation Maintenance Technology, Commercial Maintenance Mechanics, Industrial Maintenance Mechanics, Massage Therapy and Welding Technology.

The college recently added new programs such as Brewing Operations and Fermentation Science, Cannabis Industry Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Medical Laboratory Assistant, and Practical Nursing.

For more information, visit swic.edu/tuition-fees.

SWIC offers 6-week online courses starting Dec. 1

Get ahead and complete the courses you need in only six weeks, wherever you are!

Southwestern Illinois College will offer 13 online courses that can be completed in six weeks during the semester break period, starting Dec. 1, 2020 and ending Jan. 11, 2021.

These classes provide students the opportunity to earn additional credits or finish degree prerequisites in a short period of time.

“These classes are perfect for SWIC students working toward a degree, or university students who need to earn some additional credits that will transfer to their institution,” said SWIC Chief Academic Officer Gina Segobiano, Ed.D. “Online courses in a variety of subjects make it more convenient to earn credit during the hectic holiday season.”

Courses available include:

• AOJ 258-SB1 Computer Forensics/Cyber Crime 3 semester credits  

• ART 101-SB1 Art Appreciation 3 semester credits  

• BIOL 106-SB1 Environmental Science 3 semester credits  

• BUS 209-SB1 Business Computer Systems 3 semester credits  

• COMM 151-SB1 Fundamentals of Public Speaking 3 semester credits  

• COMM 155-SB1 Interpersonal Communication 3 semester credits  

• HES 151-SB1 Personal Health and Wellness 2 semester credits  

• HRO 150-SB1 Nutrition 2 semester credits  

• HRO 120-SB1 Pharmacology 3 semester credits  

• HRO 100-SB1  Medical Terminology 1 semester credit  

• LIT  113-SB1 Introduction to Fiction   3 semester credits  

• MUS 101-SB1  Music Appreciation   3 semester credits  

• PSYC 151-SB1 General Psychology 3 semester credits 

Visit swic.edu/courses for details, or call Enrollment Services at 618-235-2700, ext. 5455.