Opinion

Higher Education in Cook County

Sarah Stover

One of the questions we here at Cook County Higher Education hear the most often from people both inside and outside of our community is “What exactly is Cook County Higher Education?”

There is some confusion about what we do within the community because of frequent mix-ups between services we offer and services other local educational organizations provide. This is understandable, given the many nonprofit education opportunities. We share some similarities: we are a nonprofit; we offer lifelong learning opportunities; we serve the community and beyond. There are a number of services, however, that set us apart.

Cook County Higher Education’s mission is “To provide local access to college education and training on the North Shore that result in living wage employment and an educated workforce.” This can be broken down into four areas of service: college preparation, college certificates and degrees, workforce training, and lifelong learning. We aim to provide the education you need where you live.

Let’s start with the college preparation piece. We work with students who come to us looking to pursue some sort of higher education–be it a vocational certificate, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, Ph.D. programs, and even high school students taking college (PSEO) classes. We help people determine what program best suits their needs while considering issues like place, time, and finances.

We assist these potential students in preparing for placement tests and exams, applying for schools, filing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for grants, scholarships, and loans, study skills workshops and more. Once prospective students have gone through the preparation process, we provide support for students working towards a college certificate or degree.

Enrolled students are supported by CCHE in a number of ways. We assist with academic advising; we help students figure out what classes they need in order to graduate, we help them find where they can take those classes, and we can help them register. We provide advocacy support, such as helping students file appeals, overrides, and assist with stressful communications to schools and other academic agencies. We provide support through our mentorship program– a free mentor/ tutor service connecting students with community experts in the subject of need. We assist with transfer services, exam proctoring, test preparation, study groups and cohorts, as well as 24-hour access to learning technologies.

Many people don’t need a certificate or a degree, but need some skills training. Cook County Higher Education addresses this need with workforce development and training opportunities. Examples include basic welding training, boiler operator training, alcohol server training, ServSafe Food Handling training, and software application workshops such as Excel, QuickBooks, and Adobe Photoshop. We also assist with resume and cover letter development, and provide networking opportunities with our business networking luncheons.

Our fourth area of service in the community involves lifelong learning–learning for fun and personal enrichment. Lifelong learning opportunities abound here at Cook County Higher Education. Our lifelong learning presenters and instructors generally come from our community–they are retired professionals who live in or visit our region and are interested in sharing their expertise. For instance, we offer not-for-credit classes. In the summer, we offer guest lectures on a variety of topics. We also have our Afternoon Tea event at Naniboujou Lodge, which has become an annual event. If you are interested in teaching a class or presenting a guest lecture topic, please let us know!

At Cook County Higher Education, we strive to provide opportunities for growth, development and improvement, all of which better our community. We invite you to learn about upcoming events and learning opportunities—stop by our North Shore Campus, located at 300 W. 3rd Street in Grand Marais, check out our website at www.northshorecampus.org, or find us on Facebook. We are all excited to help you on your journey!

Each month a representative of our educational facilities offers thoughts on Issues in Education. This month’s contributor is Sarah Stover, student services coordinator at Cook County Higher Education.


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2016-02-27 digital edition


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