QUINCY (WGEM) — A report shows fall-to-fall enrollment at Illinois community colleges is up for the first time in more than a decade.
According to the Illinois Community College Board, fall 2022 enrollment at the state’s 48 community colleges is up 1.5% from last year’s numbers, the first increase since 2009.
Great River Economic Development Foundation president Kyle Moore said he thought it was a positive trend. He said institutions like John Wood Community College are a boon to the local workforce because they make it easier to recruit and train new workers and reskill those looking for a second career.
He said the more people they are able to attract to their campus, the more people can choose to stay local, leading to population growth.
“We’ve seen a stagnation in our population over the last 10 years, we’ve lost people to bigger cities,” he said. “If we can talk to our students about staying here locally, about the benefits of having a career where they grew up, it will have a long term positive impact for Quincy, Adams County and the entire Tri-State area. ”
The report shows that enrollment at John Wood Community College has remained relatively stable, with an enrollment of 1,720 students in 2022, eight fewer than their fall 2021 enrollment.
But officials said they expect future enrollment growth. President Mike Elbe said he has seen more adult learners returning to school who have suspended their studies during the pandemic and, online learners returning to in-person classes after taking online classes.
He also mentioned that investments in their Workforce Development Center and Agricultural Science Complex are reasons for growth.
Students said the school provided them with opportunities not available elsewhere.
Freshman Avery Grawe said she plans to spend two years at John Wood before transferring to get her bachelor’s degree as part of her pursuit of a career in dentistry.
“I wasn’t ready to go to four-year college right away,” she said. “I knew I wanted to stay with my family and a lot of my friends.”
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