Daily file photo by Adnaan Zaffer
Oakton Community College is offering a variety of classes for adults at Evanston Township High School starting on Thursday as part of an ongoing partnership between the two schools.
Kristen Perkins, the Northwestern/ETHS partnership coordinator, said ETHS has had a close relationship with Oakton for several years.
“ETHS has fantastic facilities in terms of their automotive lab, for example,” Perkins said. “It’s a positive thing for the community, and it’s really great of (ETHS) to open their doors for Oakton to use the space.”
Oakton courses offered at ETHS include small-engine repairs classes, computer skills classes, culinary classes and home-and-garden classes, among others. The noncredit courses are offered through the continuing education department of Oakton with the Alliance for Lifelong Learning, a collaboration among the community college and several area high schools, including ETHS.
Oakton has campuses in Des Plaines and Skokie. While discussing youth workforce development in the city in an episode of local media show “The Reporters,” Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said the Oakton campuses are inconvenient for Evanston students to reach.
“I’m trying to get these kids to the point where they can actually get a job,” Tisdahl said. “The kids all say it’s too far away for them to go there.”
Karra Wells, the assistant manager of continuing education at Oakton, said the collaboration with ETHS helps the community by making courses accessible to residents older than 18.
“The courses are geared toward professional development for students who are trying to get back into the workforce or move up,” Wells said. “But we also offer a lot of personal enrichment courses. Really we’re just trying to provide a service for the community.”
The Youth Job Center in Evanston, has a partnership with ETHS and Oakton specifically to offer automotive repair classes, one of the center’s programs to help prepare people ages 14-25 for success in the workplace.
Jessica Wingader, a CORE employment counselor at YJC, called the partnership “fabulous.”
“Oakton provides the coursework, ETHS provides the space for using the automotive lab and we have found employers who will provide a work experience for the program participants,” Wingader said. “The hope is that the employers will hire people directly, or they can use their new credentials and experience to get a job in a similar field.”