Kankakee Area Career Center students are not only learning technical and academic skills, they are developing practical skills to understand and deliver what an employer needs in today’s workforce.

KACC students are engaged in the Workplace Excellence Series giving them a more diverse and business centered experience. Through a 10-module series students are building habits for future career success.

“Academic, technical and workplace excellence skill development makes for a well-educated and well-rounded employee,” KACC principal Tim Guerin said. “This is one more avenue the Kankakee Area Career Center takes to Preparing Students for Tomorrow.”

KACC initially teamed up with Kankakee Community College and professor and program coordinator Kristine Condon to bring the Workplace Excellence Series into every KACC curriculum. Condon provided faculty training last year. Once trained, faculty began working with students on the modules, with five offered each school year.

KACC principal Tim Guerin has continued what Condon started working with teachers on how to best deliver the program.

During teacher work days once a month, teams build lessons incorporating the 10 modules into the classroom.

The 10 modules include:

*Adaptability – Students learn strategies for succeeding in a changing environment, improving personal adaptability and managing stress.

*Communicationability – Students learn verbal and non-verbal communication as it relates to the workplace including active listening and effective greetings and introductions.

*Dependability – Students learn strategies to focus on top priorities, staying engaged and productive and avoiding procrastination.

*Presentability – Students learn a basic understanding of professional presentation, how to cultivate a company image, build a wardrobe quickly and affordably and ways to continuously improve.

*Reasonability – Students discover how to identify, adjust and improve problem outcomes and ways to cultivate reasoning and a mindset that leads to succes.s

*Respectability – Students gain an understanding of the five generations in theworkforce and learn strategies to appreciate differences, play to everyone's strenghts and improve the ability to thrive.

*Suitability – Students find why work culture is important and how to successfully learn, adopt and promote the culture of the industry, company or department.

*Transitionability – Students learn how to prepare for a new job and how to maintain a life and work balnace.

*Workability – Students gain an understanding of today's expectations and thier role in supporting the bottom-line, how to increase profit, earn and keep their raises and exceed expectations.

*Writeability – Students learn how to craft and deliver messages, write effecitve emails and tips for workplace texting and replying to messsages.

“Each instructor incorporates each module differently,” Guerin said. “For example, adaptability in welding is different than adaptability in cosmetology. Each module is based on each area of study.”

And for the KACC, areas of study include automotive technology, certified nursing assistant training program, computer technology, construction technology, cosmetology, drafting and 3D design, early childhood education with a preschool lab, fire and rescue, law enforcement, medical terminology and welding technology. Students from nearly 20 area high schools attend KACC.

Guerin noted that lessons are built around the curriculum. Teachers form the assessment of each module to ensure a student earns competency in each module. Four to six weeks is spent on each module, taking a full two school years to learn and earn each module.

KACC director Matt Kelley is frequently heard talking about the importance of a KACC education – regardless if a student continues in the specific career field. His belief, which is proven repeatedly by success of alumni – the skills learned at KACC are transferable between any career fields.

“When students leave KACC they are ready to transfer to college or ready to enter the workforce,” Kelley said. “We make sure our students have the tools to market themselves.”

Following successful completion of each module, students are issued an electronic badge to showcase their newest credential to add to their electronic portfolio as well as their Linked In, Facebook and Twitter profiles.

The electronic badges are issued through Acclaim, a product of Credly. These badges not only confirm the credential, they also communicate the “why” employers should find it an added value for any employee.

“We are helping students become successful individuals, no matter what career path they eventually take,” Guerin said.

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