News and Updates

Northern Kane County Region 110 Vocational Interns Explore Careers in Maintenance, Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering, and Welding  

The summer of 2023 was abuzz with activity as 83 regional students enthusiastically engaged in a variety of internship programs. The remarkable achievements of these students owe much to the tireless efforts of the Alignment Collaborative for Education (ACE). ACE’s core mission revolves around harmonizing community resources and fostering partnerships with organizations to bolster public school initiatives, elevate student achievement, cultivate responsible and productive citizens, and promote the socio-economic well-being of communities across our region. During this past summer, Alignment collaborated closely with ALTA, Elgin Sweeper, ITW Shakeproof, and the Village of Bartlett to offer numerous students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in 60 hours of hands-on exploration within the realms of large equipment maintenance, manufacturing, mechanical engineering, and welding careers.

Reiker Cho, a high school intern from District 301, shared his perspective on his time at Elgin Sweeper, stating, “At Elgin Sweeper, it didn’t matter how much theoretical knowledge I had from the classroom; what truly mattered was my ability to apply diverse skills and adapt to new techniques to accomplish the tasks at hand. It was a rewarding challenge that helped me identify my strengths and areas where I could improve.” Reiker leveraged his 60 hours of experience alongside Elgin Sweeper’s seasoned welders, showcasing the knowledge he had gained from the Hampshire High School welding program, a regional initiative accessible to both District 300 and 301 students. Reiker’s success was so impressive that Elgin Sweeper employed him for the remainder of the summer.

In a groundbreaking partnership with the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) Foundation, ALTA presented two accomplished automotive students from U-46’s South Elgin High School with a chance to translate their skills into the large equipment maintenance sector. Jonathan (John) Cowley, one of the interns at Alta Equipment Company, reflected on his experience, saying, “You need to approach your work with careful consideration. Often, you have to hunt down the problem, and it’s not always right in front of you.” John collaborated with the ALTA maintenance team, engaging in the assembly and disassembly of heavy machinery and providing crucial repairs when needed. Both interns expressed their enthusiasm for continuing to work with the skilled mechanics at ALTA, driven by their passion for both the automotive and large equipment maintenance industries.

Northern Kane Region 110 expresses its heartfelt appreciation for the invaluable partnership we enjoy with the Alignment Collaborative for Education (ACE), and the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) to advance student outcomes and success. Our shared objective is to create additional internship opportunities for regional students during the summer of 2024.

Alignment harbors ambitious aspirations for the upcoming summer, aiming to offer an even greater number of opportunities to another cohort of students eager to expand their career horizons.

Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) Foundation and Northern Kane County Region 110 

The field of automotive technology represents a regional career pathway where students can earn industry-recognized Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification. Our regional students graduate from these programs well-prepared to enter the workforce. Remarkably, just last year, a student from Dundee Crown High School earned all 10 ASE certifications before completing high school.

While our automotive program is strong, we are committed to continually enhancing our students’ readiness for future careers. In this endeavor, we have found a valuable partner in the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) Foundation. Not only did AED assist in placing automotive students in work-based learning internships at ALTA Equipment Company during the past summer, but they also facilitated the donation and orientation of four Caterpillar diesel engines from Altorfer to U-46 automotive teachers.

In September, automotive teachers from U-46 schools in Bartlett, Elgin, South Elgin, and Streamwood spent a day with Altorfer’s trainers to gain insights into the large equipment maintenance industry. The Altorfer CAT team provided valuable instruction on troubleshooting and research processes commonly used in this industry.

Clint Peterson, an automotive teacher from Elgin High School and the event host, described this training as a “valuable opportunity for collaborative learning with peers and business partners.” Our region remains committed to working closely with the AED Foundation with the goal of adding additional diesel engines to our automotive regional pathway facilities within District 300. We are immensely grateful for our partnerships with the Alignment Collaborative for Education, Altorfer CAT, and the AED Foundation, as they continue to introduce teachers and students to the world of career exploration and employment opportunities within the large equipment maintenance industry.

Diggin’ Days Career Bowl at Dundee Crown High School

On Friday, September 8th, the AED Foundation, District 300, and Northern Kane County Region 110 joined forces to host the Diggin’ Days Career Bowl at Dundee Crown High School. Sean Fitzgerrel, the Director of Workforce Development & Industry Initiatives at the AED Foundation, collaborated closely with West Side Tractor and Atlas Bobcat for this event.

This gathering showcased various career opportunities within the heavy equipment industry. West Side Tractor, a prominent dealer of John Deere construction equipment, offers a comprehensive range of services, including machinery sales, rentals, parts, and support. They operate at 11 full-service locations throughout Northern Illinois, Southern Michigan, and Indiana.

Meanwhile, Atlas Bobcat, with almost 60 years of experience, stands as a trusted and full-service construction equipment dealer serving the Greater Chicago area. It has earned a reputation as one of the largest and most respected Bobcat Equipment Dealers in the United States.

These local enterprises play a pivotal role in providing our students with a meaningful career path in the heavy equipment sector. Our automotive technology program also serves as a regional career pathway, enabling students to attain industry-recognized Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification. Additionally, students can pursue further certifications in diesel systems through Kishwaukee Community College in DeKalb. Together, we are actively preparing the workforce of tomorrow, today.

Pharmacy Technician Program Piloted in the Region

This past January Northern Kane County Region 110 and the Alignment Collaborative for Education were approached by leaders from TalentFirst to discuss opportunities for students in the region to explore career opportunities in pharmacy.  TalentFirst had developed a program in which students could receive training and become licensed as a pharmacy technician.  As a region we had been discussing various internship opportunities for students interested in the healthcare industry.  Northern Kane and the Alignment Collaborative then looked to partner with our friends at Advocate Sherman Hospital to discuss what an opportunity like this might look like.

After months of planning, the program came together with Advocate Sherman offering to host ten students in their pharmacy department.  The program would consist of onsite training from our partners at TalentFirst and hands-on experience within the pharmacy.  Staff from Northern Kane and the Alignment Collaborative worked to recruit and organize students, making sure that students registered for their Pharmacy Technician license through the State of Illinois and to verify that all students met the various volunteer requirements for Advocate Sherman Hospital prior to starting the program.  TalentFirst provided on-site training for our interns during scheduled times during the three weeks and the pharmacy department hosted students two at a time, for multiple shifts over the same period of time.  Interns were given the opportunity to work side by side with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in filling and checking prescriptions for patients throughout the hospital.  Interns were also given the opportunity to hear from major pharmacy programs, such as UIC and Purdue, about education and career opportunities.

At the conclusion of the internship, all ten students completed the requirements and are now considered licensed pharmacy technicians, with the knowledge and skills to be employed in the field as they make decisions on their next step in their career path.

We are already looking to 2024 and are eager to expand this internship opportunity to other hospitals and pharmacies within our region.  If you would like to host an intern or know an organization that would be interested please reach out to us.

Hampshire High School Industrial Technology Department Named Best in the State

In October of 2022, members of Hampshire High School’s Industrial Technology Department attended the annual Illinois Technology Education Conference hosted in Bloomington-Normal for the opportunity for professional development.  What the members of the team did not expect was to walk away being named the 2022 Technology and Engineering Education Program of the Year.

D300/D301 Student Wins National Championship

As part of the Regional Veterinary Science program students have the opportunity to participate in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program at Central High School.  This year’s National FFA Conference was held in Indianapolis, IN at the Lucas Oil Stadium consisting of over 9,000 chapters across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  In front of nearly 15,000 students, District 300 student and Veterinary Science program participant, Samantha Alvarez was named National Champion in the FFA Agriscience Fair for Environmental Services and Natural Resources System.