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Now has never been a better time to invest in education. With the lagging economy, many hard workers are finding themselves unemployed or underemployed. As the nation struggles to recover, adults are choosing to continue along the educational path to enhance skills in a current career or to pursue a new interest.

The opportunities for continuing education are endless and prove invaluable when it comes to catching potential employers’ attention. For Buffalo Grove residents, two highly reputable campuses are available to help adult students successfully achieve their learning goals.

College of Lake County

The College of Lake County (CLC) is a comprehensive two-year community college with a number of academic programs and services geared towards adults seeking new learning opportunities. CLC operates several campuses throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago, including the nearby Southlake Campus in Vernon Hills, which serves Buffalo Grove residents.

Southlake provides a wide assortment of credit programs, along with options for career, workplace training and skills development, non-credit personal enrichment and adult basic education. Adult students seeking immediate employment take advantage of numerous career programs, which lead to a two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree or a certificate. The fields available include business, healthcare, social services, information technology, creative communication and many others. A certificate in Massage Therapy is also part of the selection at Southlake, as is non-credit English as a Second Language (ESL) courses and the Discovery and Quest programs for adults aged 50 and better.

CLC’s Workforce and Professional Development Institute (WPDI) is designed specifically for business professionals, entrepreneurs and owners. The Southlake Campus offers various professional development courses, which help develop and/or enhance current career skills, and several small business workshops with focuses on such topics as employee and human relations, marketing and sales and legal aspects of business ownership.

The state-of-the-art Southlake Campus has grown immensely in recent years, recently completing an expansion project in 2007 that nearly tripled its size. The campus is full of resources for students, including computer and science labs, a library and learning center and the informational Counseling Center. The center provides unmatched guidance when it comes to career planning and even personal concerns that may be interfering with student success.

Harper College

Located in Palatine, approximately 11 miles southwest of Buffalo Grove, is Harper College. Harper is a comprehensive two-year community college that is regularly rated as one of the state’s top institutions and career training schools. Each year, more than 40,000 students enroll in courses, which lead to a job-ready degree or a certificate. Several Associate’s degree programs are available, as are more than 40 certificate programs in virtually every career field. Harper also offers basic adult education/ESL, non-credit continuing education courses and distance learning options—which also includes the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree online through institutions including DePaul University, Franklin University, Regis University, the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and Western Illinois University.

Harper’s Professional Advancement and Learning Center offers Fast Track accelerated programs in business, marketing, management and law enforcement and fire science, along with the Career Stimulus Program—a monthly support group for those affected by the current economy—and two-day NetWorthing Seminars. These seminars help attendees identify career goals and understand the usefulness of the NetWorthing process.

The campus’s Career Center educates, assists and guides students through career exploration and offers services for career planning. Students utilize career counseling, internship opportunities and job search assistance, while the community is welcome to utilize one-on-one career counseling and job search assistance as well. Employers are also served through the Career Center, with opportunities to access the college’s free Internet job listing service, participate in the on-campus recruiting program and promoting internships. The center coordinates an annual job fair, available to all who are interested in seeking options for full-time jobs, part-time jobs and internships.

Additionally, Harper hosts an Illinois workNet Center in neighboring Arlington Heights, which supplies on-site career training and job search support. Those interested are invited to participate in free career-related workshops and WIA-Certified career training programs. Plus, the list of free services includes assistance with online job search and applications, goal planning and career guidance, resume and cover letter writing, interview techniques and access to a career resource library and the Internet. Fax machines are available at no cost, and copy machines are available for a minimal fee.

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