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Lt. Gov. Simon continues community college tour at Southeastern 

The Southern Illinoisan
May 9, 2011

HARRISBURG - Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon continued her tour of Illinois community colleges Monday with a stop at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg.

Simon announced earlier this year that she wants to increase raise the amount of adults with college degrees or certificates from its current 41 percent to 60 percent by 2025.

In touring state's 48 community colleges, Simon says she is observing first-hand what works on various campuses and is compiling ideas to overcoming difficulties.

"Illinois is committed to having the best-educated workforce, and the only way to accomplish that is to ensure that our students have the resources to earn a degree or certificate," Simon said.

Southeastern is working with local and regional employers to offer programs that will better serve the community's needs and bolster local business, Simon said.

The college's Diesel Technology program is the only one of its kind at an Illinois community college, and students have the option to get internships with companies like Caterpillar, Ford and John Deere. Since its inception in 1999 the program has served approximately 700 students, college officials said.

"Southeastern has been called an oasis of opportunity in our region," Jonah Rice, president of Southeastern Illinois College, said. "Given our recent ranking by the Aspen Institute as a top 10 percent community college in the nation for our success in retention and completion, we feel our good work has been validated."