KANKAKEE — The Career Coach tool that launched in August 2020 on the Kankakee Community College website is still going strong and helping connect prospective students and workers with resources toward their career paths.

The Daily Journal recognizes the Career Coach tool as an Innovator in Technology for this year’s Progress Awards.

Developed in partnership with the Kankakee Area Career Center and Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, the free, online tool provides self-assessment quizzes to identify career paths based on the user’s strengths and interests.

It then directs users to information about relevant programs at KCC, current job postings and industry factors like typical salaries and career trajectories. The tool also automates KCC’s resume reviewing services; users can submit a resume online and receive feedback from career services staff.

Additionally, the tool provides job information specific to the Kankakee County region and allows employers to log in to the system directly to post job, internship or apprenticeship opportunities.

The program was in discussions at KCC for a few years, and in the summer of 2020 the college committed to pushing it out. Career Coach was built onto data the college has been using for several years through the economic modeling company Emsi.

Lesley Cooper, KCC’s director of institutional effectiveness and assessment, said that as of March, the site has had about 2,600 visitors, and about 1,400 have gone through and completed an assessment.

“We’ve had several new users over the last couple months, and we’re seeing some testimonials from students about how it’s actually helped them,” she said.

The site currently has 31 employers connecting to post internships as well as full- and part-time positions.

“I think now that we are getting through some of the COVID stuff, I think we’ll start to see that increase more,” Cooper said.

KCC is working to expand the information provided through Career Coach in the next couple of months by adding its non-credit program options as well as lists of courses one would have to take at some of the college’s four-year partner institutions.

“We’ve got it up and going and we’ll continue to make enhancements as we move along,” Cooper said. “We’re seeing good usage of the system, so that’s encouraging.”

Reporter

Stephanie Markham joined the Daily Journal in February 2020 as the education reporter. She focuses on school boards as well as happenings and trends in local schools. She earned her B.A. in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.