2019 College Changes Everything Conference®

Agenda   presentations button

Media Release

2019 Conference Photos and Captions

July 18, 2019
8am - 4:30pm
Tinley Park Convention Center
Tinley Park, Illinois

The ninth annual College Changes Everything® conference is the state’s premier college access and success event. The one day conference focuses on effective practices and showcases 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 college degrees and credentials by the year 2025.

CCE 2019: Expanding Success for All Students – Every Community’s Responsibility 

At all levels of the education system and across all workforce sectors, what we call “student success” is truly a shared responsibility. 

  • High schools, colleges, universities, and other student-serving organizations continue to rethink and retool how they engage with students of all ages and how they partner with employers to realize a shared goal: providing students with the knowledge and opportunities to be successful along the transitions from education to employment.
  • More and more employers understand the importance of including education as part of a business strategy to help equip students with skills for career success and strengthen the overall talent pipeline.
  • National, state, and regional initiatives and strategies are strengthening education-employment relationships to provide students with the information, resources, and experiences to achieve their education, career, and life goals.

Morning Keynote Speaker

We’re pleased to announce our conference keynote speaker Merita Irby, Co-Founder of The Forum for Youth Investment, and also a chief architect of The Forum’s signature initiative, Ready by 21®. She is managing partner of Big Picture Approach Training & Consulting and a coach to state and local partnerships. You can learn more about Merita’s work with leaders in school districts, governmental departments, community collaboratives and non-governmental organizations nationwide and her other accomplishments 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 that engaged the attendees in the critical issues we face, such as: student support services, retention, remediation, college readiness, career development, out of school programs, students with disabilities, nontraditional students, and more.

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

click here to view agenda

General Session Presentations

Interest Session Presentations and Materials

Who Attends

One of the key strengths of this conference is that it brings together a diverse audience of stakeholders 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 typically include, but are not 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 organizations 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 participants to renew existing relationships and develop new ones while improving collective leadership as we work toward Goal 2025.


Breakout interest sessions provide timely information and engage the audience in thoughtful discussions on the serious issues we face in reaching the state goal, and are presented by state and national experts and practitioners. Topics include:

  • college readiness
  • navigating the college-going process
  • after school programs
  • supporting special student populations
  • mentoring programs
  • student support services
  • career readiness
  • connecting students and employers
  • and more

Cancellation and Change of Attendee

Registration Cancellation/Change of Attendee Form – click here.

Cancellation Policy and Process – If you need to cancel your registration, complete the Registration Cancellation/Change of Attendee Form located above and return it to ISAC via fax to 847-831-8508 (Attention: 2019 CCE Conference) or email to isac.collegechangeseverything@illinois.gov. Refund requests will be honored if they are received by ISAC no later than 5 pm Central Time, Monday, July 8, 2019.

Change of Attendee Process – If someone is attending the conference in your place, please print and complete the Registration Cancellation/Change of Attendee Form above and fax it to 847-831-8508 (Attention: 2019 CCE Conference) or email to isac.collegechangeseverything@isac.illinois.gov before Wednesday July 10, 2019. After July 10, your replacement will need to bring the completed form to the conference.

Questions about the conference can be directed to isac.collegechangeseverything@illinois.gov.

Celebrate ISACorps 10th Anniversary

At the conference we will recognize the tenth anniversary of the Illinois Student Assistance Corps, or ISACorps, our statewide outreach and near-peer mentoring program.  As we all know, simply making financial or informational resources available is not enough to truly provide opportunity for our underrepresented students. For the past decade the ISACorps has been helping students from families without college-going experience by providing additional support to navigate the complex process of planning and preparing for postsecondary success. The ISACorps is the largest statewide near-peer mentoring program in the country, annually serving more than 150,000 students and parents in every community in Illinois.  ISACorps members are recruited as they graduate from college and make a two-year service commitment to the state.  These talented college graduates are as diverse as Illinois and spend their days (and nights, and weekends) helping families understand the education-to-career pipeline and complete the admission and financial aid processes. ISAC is currently recruiting for the 2019-20 ISACorps, with a start date of June 2019. If you know of any recent college grads or those about to graduate interested in helping others in navigating the college going process, please encourage them to apply online at the ISAC Career Center.  

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.

2019 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
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • ACT Now
  • Women Employed

The College Changes Everything Conference® is sponsored by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.