2016 College Changes Everything Conference

Tinley Park Convention Center
Tinley Park, Illinois
July 21, 2016
8 am – 4:30 pm

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Media Release - July 28, 2016

2016 Conference Photos and Captions

CCE 2016: Aligning Attainment with Employer Engagement and Economic Growth

The sixth annual College Changes Everything conference - the state’s premier college access and success event - took place on July 21, 2016. This annual one day conference focused on effective practices and showcased resources available to help with increasing college access and college completion for students in support of the state’s Goal 2025 - to increase the proportion of adults in Illinois with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by the year 2025.

The Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success underscores the critical role higher education plays in economic recovery and growth, particularly in ensuring our state has an educated workforce to meet the needs of business and industry. Illinois' economic success requires providing college credentials aligned with current and future workforce needs at the state and regional levels. Engaging with employers more and highlighting the roles employers can play in helping students achieve success are essential in our collaborative effort to reach Goal 2025.

Morning Keynote Speakers

Attendees heard from John Burnett and Jack Hess, two business leaders who have translated their business acumen into strategic engagement on complex issues of education and workforce pipelines. John M. Burnett serves as President and CEO of the Community Education Coalition (CEC), a nationally recognized not-for-profit organization committed to the development of an aligned, high quality community and regional learning system supporting learners of all ages, and Jack Hess serves as Executive Director of the Institute for Coalition Building. The Institute serves communities across the country, nurturing leaders collectively to solve their grand challenges. To help Illinois reach its Goal 2025, it’s going to take cross-sector collaboration, and John and Jack will share how the City of Columbus, Indiana collectively addressed complex social problems and produced meaningful outcomes. Learn more about John and Jack here.

Higher Education Commission on the Future of the Workforce

In 2015, the Illinois General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 52 to create the Higher Education Commission on the Future of the Workforce. During this past year, the Commission, comprised of legislators, presidents of institutions, and representatives of business and industry, has focused its work on building on existing efforts to improve the link between educational programming and regional workforce needs. Conference attendees heard from Commission members about their work during a morning session panel discussion – College Access, Completion, and then Completion for What? Better Serving Students and the Regional Economy through Collaboration. You can learn more about the work of the Commission here.  

Agenda and Conference Session Presentations

Conference agenda information and presentations from interest sessions are found below. Breakout sessions were presented by state and national leaders and provided purposeful information and engage the audience in the critical issues we face, such as: student support services, retention, remediation, college readiness, career development, after school programs, support systems for undocumented students, veteran students, and more.

Check website later as additional interest session presentations and materials are continuing to be added.


General Session Presentation Materials – Collaboration by Design: Lessons About Collective Impact

Interest Sessions

Who Attends

One of the strengths of this conference is that it brings together a diverse audience from across the state for a day of dialogue and sharing information, ideas, and best practices that promote access to postsecondary education, ensure degree or credential attainment, and provide career pathways. Attendees include, but aren’t limited to:

  • high school leaders, counselors and case managers
  • college access practitioners
  • college and university leaders and administrators
  • leaders from state agencies, non-profits, foundations, and community-based focused on educational opportunity and attainment and career pathways
  • business leaders
  • policymakers and elected officials interested in higher education and workforce development

The conference also serves as an opportunity for stakeholders to further cultivate existing partnerships and develop new collaborations while improving collective leadership as we work toward the state’s goal. Sessions presented by state and national leaders provide purposeful information and engage the audience in thoughtful discussions on the serious issues we face in reaching Goal 2025

Tinley Park Convention Center

The Tinley Park Convention Center is located just 30 miles from downtown Chicago at 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477.

2016 College Changes Everything Planning Committee

  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois College Access Network
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Advance Illinois
  • Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University
  • Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • ACT Now
  • Women Employed

Helping Illinois reach its Goal 2025: to increase the proportion of adults in Illinois with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by the year 2025