News & Events
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon Visits Waubonsee Downtown Aurora Campus
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon visited Waubonsee Community College’s downtown Aurora Campus on June 22, touring the campus and meeting with students, faculty and staff to learn how the college’s newest campus is helping the Aurora community and providing the graduates needed to drive the local economy forward.
This is the second visit to Waubonsee for the lieutenant governor. Lt. Gov. Simon visited Waubonsee last May as part of her Complete College tour of every Illinois community college. She also served as the college’s commencement speaker, sharing motivational advice and highlighting stories from some of Waubonsee’s 2011 graduates.
Lt. Gov. Simon took the findings from her Complete College tour and in January released a report titled “Focus on the Finish.” The report describes how policymakers can help Illinois community colleges meet the growing demand for an educated workforce. A bill crafted by Simon that aims to reduce remedial math needs at colleges and universities — by creating the state’s first middle and high school math curriculum — awaits the Governor’s signature.
“Community colleges are among the most affordable and accessible higher education choices in Illinois,” Lt. Gov. Simon said. “We’re working to ensure students enroll at schools like Waubonsee prepared for college-level work and graduate with meaningful credentials that translate to good-paying jobs.”
As part of her tour Friday, Lt. Gov. Simon learned more about some of the unique programs housed at Waubonsee’s downtown Aurora Campus. The Health Information Technology program prepares students to enter the growing health care field by working in data management. Waubonsee has also been a leader in the interpreting field — in particular health care and sign language interpreting. The Aurora Campus features a state-of-the-art interpreting lab to give students access to the tools they need to succeed.
Lt. Gov. Simon also visited Waubonsee’s Illinois Small Business Development Center (IL SBDC). In 2010-2011, the IL SBDC assisted with 39 business start-ups, the highest in the state. More recently, the IL SBDC helped launch a new initiative, the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center, which will help even more local businesses thrive through innovative programming and mentoring.
The tour concluded with an engaging discussion with a panel of Waubonsee students.
After her tour at Waubonsee, the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted Lt. Gov. Simon as its featured speaker at an event at Gaslight Manor in Aurora.
Waubonsee’s downtown Aurora Campus recently marked its one-year anniversary. In the past year, the campus has served nearly 9,500 students, hosted numerous events and revitalized a city block. The new 132,000-square-foot campus, which is located at 18 S. River St. in downtown Aurora, replaced the college’s former campus on Stolp Island. The biggest difference between the new location and the former Aurora facility is that the new campus is comprehensive, meaning students can start and finish complete associate degrees and certificates right in downtown Aurora. While the overall year-to-year growth in students served is 20 percent, credit course semester hours showed even larger gains, jumping by 122 percent.