Joliet Junior College was honored with the 2017 Large Business of the Year award by the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
JJC President Dr. Judy Mitchell thanked the chamber for the honor at its annual dinner Jan. 10 at the Renaissance Center in Joliet. She credited the college’s success to its investments both on and off campus.
"When I talk about investment, however, it doesn’t always simply mean a financial investment. It means an investment in creativity, and building relationships with others in the Joliet community," she said.
That includes a new ambassador program featuring over 60 JJC employees. Through their involvement with multiple organizations across the school's seven-county district, these employees are developing relationships with residents and local institutions and exploring new partnership opportunities.
Mitchell also noted existing partnerships like the dual credit program with Joliet Township High School, Will County Area Career Center and the Grundy Area Vocational Center. These entities combine with JJC to prepare high school students in Advanced Integrated Maintenance. Additionally, the Operations Engineering Technology program joins JJC with Exelon, Aux Sable Liquid Products, LyondellBasell, State Senator Sue Rezin, and other organizations. Participating students earn the skills necessary to enter the manufacturing, nuclear or petrochemical industries.
In recent weeks, JJC expanded upon its investment in students by issuing partial monetary reimbursements to those attending this academic year. The college raised tuition last spring to account for an anticipated reduction in state funding.
"Because state funding was better than expected this fiscal year, we were able to disburse around $2.9 million in total to students, an amount which equates to the extra state funding the college expects to receive above its FY18 budget," Mitchell said.
In addition, the JJC Foundation last year awarded $513,000 in annual and endowed scholarships. It represents the critical role donors play in supporting students, especially amidst state financial uncertainty, she said.
"None of this is possible without the collective support of this chamber and this community," Mitchell concluded.
The college joined other honorees that evening including Small Business of the Year, Corsetti Structural Steel, Inc.; Professional/Business Services, Pace Suburban Bus; Financial Services, Hometown National Bank; Retail, Chignoli Auto Sales; Social Services Agency, Senior Services of Will County; Association Award, Cathedral Area Preservation Association; and Lifetime Achievement Awards, Ed Czerkies and Jack Rogers.
For more information on JJC’s 2017 Large Business of the Year award, contact Scott Harvey, communications and media coordinator, at 815-280-2844 or firstname.lastname@example.org.