Union County Chamber welcomes Shawnee president
The Union County Chamber of Commerce’s regular monthly meeting featured a presentation by guest speaker Dr. Peggy Bradford, the president of Shawnee Community College.
The chamber meeting was held at noon March 1 at the college’s extension center in Anna.
Bradford grew up in the Southern Illinois region and received her associate of arts degree from Shawnee Community College.
During her presentation, Bradford stressed the importance of the partnership between Shawnee College and the Union County area.
She reports that Union County residents account for 1,341 out of 4,600 (nearly 28 percent) of the Shawnee College student population.
“These students represent the future in our workforce and our leadership in Union County and in Southern Illinois overall,” Bradford said.
Bradford said there is still a lot of work to be done. “The rate of (the area’s) students graduating high school, according to census data, is 85 percent. However, the number that we see in higher education is 21 percent.”
Shawnee Community College offers 55 different education programs to students.
Bradford stressed the importance of putting students into a field of study they can be passionate about, but also one that will make them valuable to the job market.
“We are looking to go through the list of programs that we have to see if we are in sync with what employment opportunities there are.”
Courses for all 55 programs that Shawnee Community College offer are available at the Anna extension center.
Bradford said that local businesses can play an important role in the education of area college students by partnering with the college to set up internships and other career experience programs.
“One of the ways that we find that students stay engaged is if they have an opportunity for applied learning in the community.”
Local business owners who may be interested in setting up an internship with the Shawnee Community College Anna Extension center can contact Lindsay Johnson at 618-634-3451.
In other business at last week’s meeting:
The chamber of commerce reported on upcoming events.
The first Business After Hours meeting of 2018 is scheduled at Re/Max Southern in Anna on March 14 at 5 p.m.
The Annabelle Street Fest is scheduled June 9-10.
Movie in the Park events are set to begin this summer.
A Taste of Union County street fair is being scheduled for the fall in Cobden.
Brett Whitnel of Shawnee College discussed plans for the ELITE Youth Entrepreneurship Camp. The program offered by the college is open to students in grades 7 through 9 and is scheduled July 16-19.
Union County CEO program representative Alejandra Lopez discussed the success of their recent Battle of the Businesses trivia night.
Carol Hoffman from the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau discussed her trip to the state tourism conference. She emphasized the importance of quality video and photography when promoting business or tourism. The Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau is accepting submissions of videos and photos promoting local business and upcoming events. She said that media should be high resolution and vertical format and videos should be under a minute in length.
Hoffman also discussed the Illinois Made program. The program promotes opportunities for products made and used in Illinois.
Teresa Gilbert of Bald Knob Cross of Peace discussed the 2018 sunrise Easter service. This year’s service is planned at 6:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday.