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SWIC Red Bud Campus To Host Annual Poetry Contest

The Southwestern Illinois College Red Bud Campus will host its annual poetry contest for area students and residents this spring.

Individuals of all ages are invited to showcase their creative abilities in the contest through poetry. Divisions for entries are as follows: adult, high school, eighth grade, seventh grade, sixth grade, fifth grade and fourth grade.

Each contestant is allowed to submit one poem and all entries must be turned in with a completed entry form by 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Entry forms can be found online at swic.edu/poetry-contest. Submissions can be mailed to Amy Brockman at 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville, IL 62221 or turned in to the SWIC Red Bud Campus Student Development Office, Room 175.

Contestants will be recognized for their poetic excellence at an award ceremony. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in each division. For more details about the awards ceremony visit swic.edu/poetry-contest.

For more information, call Amy Brockman at 618-235-2700, ext. 5324.

Experience spring training with the Cardinals, discover the heart of Texas or explore captivating Iceland with PSOP in 2021

Dreaming of your next big adventure? Let Southwestern Illinois College Programs and Services for Older Persons help make it a reality! PSOP is hosting three excursions in 2021 that will create memories to last a lifetime.

Spring Training with the Cardinals in Jupiter, Florida – March. 16-19, 2021
Enjoy the beginning of spring with the “boys of summer.” The four-day trip leaves on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. Highlights of the trip include a tour of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse; two Cardinals games at Roger Dean Stadium; exploring old-world architecture, beautiful fountains and sidewalk cafes in West Palm Beach; viewing celebrity mansions; looking for alligators while riding through the Everglades Holiday Park on an airboat; enjoying a “Gator” show by the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue Team of “Animal Planet” and more!   

The trip includes roundtrip local airport transfers and airfare; deluxe motor coach transportation; three-nights lodging near the beach; three breakfasts and two dinners; all activities and admissions as listed in the itinerary; all tour-related taxes and gratuities and baggage handling. Prices start at $2,229 per person, with double occupancy.  

The Magnolia Trail & The Heart of Texas – April 24-28, 2021
Experience all the heartland of Texas has offer! This four-night trip leaves Saturday, April 24, 2021. Highlights of the trip include tours of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, President John F. Kennedy sites and locations, Perot Museum, AT&T Stadium, the western historic Fort Worth Stockyard District, Waco City and a guided tour of homes featured on the HGTV series “Fixer Upper.” Also included is shopping at the Magnolia Market at the Silos, viewing a cattle drive and much more!

The tour includes roundtrip airfare from St. Louis, four-nights lodging infirst-class hotels, six meals, motorcoach transportation, admissions per itinerary, comprehensive sightseeing, hotel transfers, baggage handling at hotels, a travel protection plan and a professional tour director. Prices start at $2,699 per person, with double occupancy and the booking discount.
Iceland Explorer – June 2-8, 2021

Discover picturesque landscapes created by volcanoes and glaciers, and learn about Viking heritage. The trip includes roundtrip airfare from St. Louis, motorcoach transportation, eight meals, sightseeing and admissions per itinerary, five nights lodging, hotel transfers, travel insurance, international air departure taxes and fuel, baggage handling at the hotel and a professional tour director. A valid passport is required.

Highlights of the adventure include visiting several museums such as Iceland’s National Museum, Skogar Folk Museum and the Viking Ship Museum. Also, view the Skogafoss, one of the biggest waterfalls in the country; swim in a geothermal pool in the center of a large lava field called the Blue Lagoon; explore Thingvellir National Park; view hot springs and mud pots; explore five original Viking ships from the 11th century and visit Bessastadir, an ancient site and home to Iceland’s president. Taste “Hot Spring Bread” which is cooked using the heat from geothermal activity; learn Viking history and culture; and much more. The cost starts at $4,799 per person, based on double occupancy and with the booking discount.  

For more information or a brochure, call Group Travel Specialist Nancy Bauer at 618-234-4410, ext. 7020 or nancy.bauer@swic.edu.

Experience breathtaking Alaska, coastal Maine or an island cruise with PSOP

Dreaming of your next big adventure? Let Southwestern Illinois College Programs and Services for Older Persons help make it a reality! PSOP is hosting three excursions in 2021 and 2022 that will create memories to last a lifetime.

Alaska by Land & Sea – Aug. 9-20, 2021
Explore the Alaskan “final frontier.” The seven-night cruise and four-night land adventure leaves Belleville, Monday, Aug. 9. 2021. Highlights of the adventure include visiting Denali National Park; taking a ride on the Alaska Railroad; experiencing a wilderness dogsled ride; viewing the gigantic Hubbard Glacier; visiting the Icy Strait Point; watching whales on the waters of Port Frederick; and all the amenities of the world-class Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium ship at night and much more!

The tour includes airfare, transportation, activities, meals, lodging on land, cruise accommodations as selected, entertainment on the ship, port charges, taxes, government fees, travel insurance and gratuities. Prices start at $5,023 per person, with double occupancy.

Landscapes & Lighthouses of Coastal Maine – Oct. 9-15, 2021
Experience all the beauty coastal Maine has to offer. The six-night trip leaves St. Louis on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. Highlights of the trip include tours of historic Boston and America’s oldest ballpark, Fenway Park; taking a scenic Casco Bay Cruise and seeing lighthouses, forts, lobster boats and seals; visiting one of America’s oldest and most photographed lighthouses, Portland Head Lighthouse; experiencing a traditional lobster clambake; traveling to the tallest peak in the Northeastern U.S., Mount Washington and much more!

The excursion includes roundtrip airfare from St. Louis, six-nights lodging in first-class hotels, nine meals, motorcoach transportation, admissions per itinerary, sightseeing, hotel transfers, baggage handling at hotels, a travel protection plan and a professional tour director. Prices start at $3,599 per person, with double occupancy and the booking discount.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise – Feb. 20 to March 3, 2022                 
This unique island winter escape is jam-packed with things to do and features something for everyone. The 10-night journey leaves Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022 and will explore what Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the eastern Caribbean islands, and Celebrity Cruises Millennium cruise ship have to offer. There are many excursion options to choose from including:  exploring vibrant coastal villages and white-sandy beaches; navigating the El Yunque rainforest; tasting local cuisine; shopping at local shops filled with artisanal batik clothing, leatherwork and textiles; riding a narrow-gauge train through breathtaking scenery; snorkeling to view sunken shipwrecked ships; viewing the magnificient Mount Liamuiga, a 3,792-foot-high dormant volcano and more!

The trip includes rountrip airfare and airport transfers; one-night lodging in Ft. Lauderdale with breakfast; 10-night cruise in selected accomodations; all meals and entertainment on the ship; baggage handling throughout the trip; customary shipboard gratuities; all port charges, taxes and government fees; tour-related taxes and gratuities for drivers and bellman and services of a PSOP representative. Guests also get to choose two of the following perks, at no extra cost: classic beverage package, unlimited internet package or an onboard credit of $150 per person for dining, spa, shore excursions and other onboard purchases.       

The deposit to reserve your spot for this excitement-packed excursion is only $500. Prices begin at only $2,999 per person. A passport is required and must be valid through Sept. 5, 2022. A passport card is not acceptable for this trip.

For more information or a brochure, call Group Travel Specialist Nancy Bauer at 618-234-4410, ext. 7020 or nancy.bauer@swic.edu.

SWIC Receives $1.2 Million Workforce Equity Grant for 2021

A $1.2 million Workforce Equity Initiative Grant from the Illinois Community College Board will enable Southwestern Illinois College to continue offering its one-year career training programs in East St. Louis.

“We’re able to continue the incredible work we’ve been doing at the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus,” said SWIC Executive Director of Enrollment Development Bob Tebbe. “We look forward to expanding career pathway programs and helping students achieve their educational and career goals.”

SWIC received a $1.4 million WEI grant in 2020 to develop employment training programs to assist minorities in underserved communities. Those programs include certificates in Welding, Nurse Assistant, Food Service, Forklift Training, and Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. This year, 274 students completed certificate programs at ESLHEC.

Additional certificate programs for 2021 include Phlebotomy, Practical Nursing, and Help Desk.

“The goal is to provide underserved residents of the East St. Louis area with vital job skills so they can earn a prevailing wage,” Tebbe said.

The 2020 grant also allowed SWIC to purchase a food truck to teach a food service class and a mobile technical education trailer to teach precision machining in that community.

To help students start their new careers, SWIC has earmarked funds from the 2021 grant to provide a stipend to students who complete a certificate program and secure employment.

“Southwestern Illinois College is developing relationships with community programs and businesses to create a pathway for students once they complete the program to enter into employment,” said Programs Outreach Coordinator/ESLHEC Site Administrator Gary Cruise. “We are excited to receive the $1.2 million training grant and looking forward to SWIC being a part of changing lives.”

The award to SWIC is part of an $18.7 million ICCB grant to 17 community colleges throughout the state that serve larger African American and other minority populations.

While the first year of the initiative was impacted by the current health crisis, demand remained high with 1,840 Illinoisans enrolling in WEI programs in the spring of 2020.

With the support of Illinois’ Legislative Black Caucus and House Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth, funding from the WEI allows participating colleges to develop or enhance training and career pathway programs in primarily five high demand employment sectors – health care, manufacturing and construction, transportation, information technology, and emergency services.

For the full WEI report visit:  http://www.illinoiswei.org/.

To find out how you can sign up for one of the WEI career training programs, contact Cruise at 618-874-6595 or leonard.cruise@swic.edu.

SWIC Fire Science Program students to learn on donated fire truck

Retired Fairview Heights firefighter Daniel Lougeay of Marissa, has made an in-kind donation of a fire truck to the Southwestern Illinois College Fire Science Program. The 1963 retired fire engine will be used by fire science students to learn how to operate a fire hose pump, as well as other things.  

1963 Fire Engine
Pictured, Daniel Lougeay, right, and son, SWIC Fire Science Program Coordinator Curt Lougeay, stand with the donated 1963 Fire Engine that Daniel donated to the SWIC Fire Science Program.

“Being able to help the next generation of firefighters become the best they can be, not only for themselves but for the safety of the public is what matters,” said Lougeay. “It also feels good to be able to contribute to one of the best fire science programs in our area.

Lougeay bought the truck from the Willisville Fire Department in 2002 and used it for parades and antique fire truck shows. The truck will be located at the SWIC Clay Baitman Fire Science Center, located at 1521 Freeburg Ave. in Belleville, where all the fire science courses are offered. The fire science graduates more than 30 firefighters annually.

“We really appreciate the donation of the fire truck to our program,” said SWIC Fire Science Program Coordinator and Daniel’s son, Curt Lougeay. “Having the ability to provide real-world learning opportunities for our students is extremely important and with the addition of this new equipment, we can ensure we are placing well-educated and prepared firefighters out in our communities.”

SWIC offers a two-year, 66-semester-credit Associate in Applied Science degree in Fire Science with two options and 11 certificate programs.

For more information on the Fire Science Program contact Program Coordinator Curt Lougeay at 618-234-5138 or curt.lougeay@swic.edu or for information on how to donate to SWIC visit swic.edu/community/foundation/ways-to-give/.

SWIC’s Mark Bosworth Wins NTMA Teaching Award

NTMA St. Louis Chapter President Tony Maus called Southwestern Illinois College Industrial Technology Coordinator Mark Bosworth an “Education Super Star” as he presented Bosworth with the William E. Hardman Award for Excellence in Training on Nov. 10 at the Sam Wolf Granite City Campus.

Bosworth, who has been with SWIC since 2008, has grown the Precision Machining Technology program from a handful of evening students to more than 60 day and evening students.

“I love working with the students and watching their skills develop,” Bosworth said. “I like to see them on track for a well-paying, solid career that will last a lifetime.”

The National Tooling and Machining Association is a US-based membership trade association with a collective force of 1,100 tool & die and precision manufacturing companies representing a more than $35 billion industry. NTMA’s focus is supporting the future of American manufacturing through small and medium-sized companies, and family-owned businesses. The William E. Hardman Award is a national award recognizing the high standards and achievements of educators.

“Today we are here to recognize Mark Bosworth’s role in training our next generation of precision manufacturing professionals and our industry’s next generation of leaders,” said NMTA president Roger Atkins. “The William E. Hardman Award for Excellence in Training is for a company or individual that has consistently demonstrated strong support and active participation in structured training for the precision custom manufacturing industry.”

In 2019, Bosworth won the Madison County CTE Business Supporter of the Year award for supporting local industry’s workforce needs and for serving as a conduit between industry and secondary/postsecondary CTE programs in the region.

In addition to being program coordinator, Bosworth teaches classes in all areas of the PMT program, which includes manual machining, computer numerical control (CNC) programming, and MasterCam programming, and some courses for Industrial Maintenance Mechanics.

In 2016, Bosworth was named SWIC Full-Time Faculty Member of the Year and won the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award.

Before joining SWIC, Bosworth taught at Ranken Technical College for 12 years and was a machinist for 11 years for five different companies in the St. Louis area.

Bosworth has a master’s degree in Adult Education and Administration from Jones International University and a bachelor’s degree in Management from National-Louis University. He’s also a member of the NTMA and SkillsUSA.

Bosworth lives in Belleville with his wife, Sue, and their daughter, Emily.

For more information about the PMT program visit swic.edu/pmt.

SWIC Red Bud Campus offers out-of-school youth FREE services

SouthwesternIllinois College is proud to offer the Youth Employment and Support Services Program, which is funded through the national Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Out of School Youth program. YESS provides St. Clair and Randolph County out-of-school youth, ages 16 to 24, with FREE comprehensive support and educational services to complete their High School Equivalency or secondary level of education. Work-site learning opportunities are also available to students in the career field of their choice.

Case managers design a formal, individualized agreement with each participant by assisting them in developing a plan of action to overcome barriers that may hinder them in fulfilling their education goals and/or obtaining employment that may lead to self-sufficiency.

     The following services are available through the program:

  • Tutoring and High School Equivalency instruction and testing
  • Employment opportunities linked to participants’ career interests
  • Work experience opportunities
  • Leadership development
  • Adult mentoring
  • Workplace readiness training
  • Follow-up services after exit (12 months)
  • Transportation assistance
  • Child care referral assistance
  • Comprehensive guidance and counseling, including referral to service partners for drug and alcohol counseling as needed

     To learn more about the YESS program or SWIC HSE classes contact SWIC Randolph County Youth Services Coordinator Karen Schaller at

SWIC Sam Wolf Granite City Campus Adult Education now offering FREE classes

The Southwestern Illinois College Adult Education and Literacy Department at the Sam Wolf Granite City Campus, 4950 Maryville Road, provides FREE educational, vocational and transitional career services to eligible individuals from Madison, St. Clair, Randolph, Washington, Clinton, Bond, and Monroe Counties.

The following programs are currently offered:

  • High School Equivalency (formally GED) test preparation classes
  • Tutoring
  • English as a Second Language classes
  • Spanish Language High School Equivalency classes
  • Computer classes
  • Health Care Bridge to Nurse Assistant Certification
  • Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System (ICAPS) – Precision Machine Technology (PMT)
  • Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System (ICAPS) – Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Welding
  • Warehousing and Distribution
  • Forklift Training Certification
  • Career Pathways course
  • Job Skills course
  • Transition to college and/or workforce services

To learn more about upcoming SWIC classes in the Granite City area contact SWIC Adult Education and Literacy Transition Services Coordinator Torrin Suedmeyer at 618-797-7321 or via email at torrin.suedmeyer@swic.edu. Stay connected with SWIC SWGCC via Facebook @swicadultedswgcc and Instagram @swicadulted_swgcc.

SWIC Adult Education now offering online and in-person High School Equivalency classes

If you left high school without earning a diploma, let Southwestern Illinois College help you earn one from the comfort of your home or anywhere.  The SWIC Adult Education and Literacy department is now offering online and in-person High School Equivalency preparation classes.     

All services are free and online; support services are available.   

To learn more about upcoming SWIC classes in the St. Clair County area call Lachelle Dowell at 618-222-5365, toll free in Illinois at 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5365 or email lachelle.dowell@swic.edu, for classes in Randolph County contact Karen Schaller at 618-210-8189 or email karen.schaller@swic.edu and for information about classes in the Madison County area call Barb Vrabec at 618-797-7358, or email barbara.vrabec@swic.edu.

SWIC program ranked 8th in nation

Southwestern Illinois College’s Precision Machining Technology program ranked No. 8 on stateuniversity.com’s list of Most Popular Schools for Machine Tool Technology/Machinist Major & Degree Programs in the nation.

The website stateuniversity.com is a national college and university ranking website that rates educational institutions on a variety of topics including best vocational programs, most affordable tuition and safest campuses.

“It’s exciting to be nationally ranked for our outstanding program,” said Dean of Technical Education Bradley Sparks. “At only $122 per credit hour our program is the best value in the region.”

SWIC offers a two-year, 72-semester-credit Associate in Applied Science degree in Precision Machining Technology. Certificates include: Precision Machining Technology, CNC (computer numerical control) Machining, Mastercam, SolidWorks and Advanced CNC Programming.

The SWIC PMT program prepares students with the skills and experience necessary to enter a variety of machining fields. Students learn to safely set up and operate machine-shop equipment such as lathes, mills, drill presses, grinders and computer numerical control machines. They also learn computer software programs to design parts and create programs for CNC machines.

Southwestern Illinois College’s precision machining program ranked No. 8 on stateuniversity.com’s list of Most Popular Schools for Machine Tool Technology/Machinist Major & Degree Programs in the nation.

“At only $122 per credit hour our program is the best value in the region.” – Bradley Sparks

PMT courses are held at the Industrial Technology Center on the Sam Wolf Granite City Campus. Students train on the latest most advanced equipment from HAASCNC and up to dated technologies used in industry today.

The SWIC program is recognized by NIMS, the National Institute for Metalworking Skills; and PMT students regularly earn medals at the SKILLSUSA challenge.

The website stateuniversity.com ranks institutions statistically based on U.S. government surveys and reports provided by the schools themselves. StateUniversity.com uses many different measures in ranking schools including ACT/SAT scores, student retention, faculty salary, and student/faculty ratio. For more information about the SWIC PMT program visit, swic.edu/pmt. Registration for Spring 2021 Semester begins Oct. 26.