As with our in-person conferences, this online event will showcase best practices, collaborations, and resources available to promote and support student college and career readiness, and to help Illinois reach its Goal 2025 – to increase the proportion of adults in Illinois with high-quality degrees and postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025. For our state to reach this goal, stakeholders from all facets of a student’s community must work together to support and provide them with the knowledge and opportunities to be successful along their education pathways, and as they transition to employment. Despite the limited face-to-face opportunities to interact with our colleagues, the needs of our learners, institutions, and communities continue to be urgent and pressing, and it is important to come together to connect and facilitate learning with stakeholders across our state.
This year’s conference theme is Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for the Success of All Learners. Learners from underserved and historically underrepresented populations are not just experiencing problems directly resulting from the pandemic, but the pandemic has also elevated existing inequities. It’s critical we take steps now to examine and address the short and long-term outcomes of our policies, programs, and structures, as well as grapple with key issues and the tensions they raise as we strive to meet the needs of all learners. The CCE conference provides an opportunity for stakeholders to identify actionable solutions to strengthen our work to increase education and career opportunities for all learners-- allowing them to contribute to stronger communities and a robust and more inclusive workforce and economy.