villa 032521WEST CHICAGO – In an effort to diversify local educators, the Illinois State Board of Education has awarded multiple Career and Technical Education Education Career Pathways Grants to schools in the district State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) represents.

“As a former school social worker, I know firsthand the importance of a diverse workforce in our schools,” Villa said. “Investing in our students’ education is the first step in investing in our society, and I’m thrilled to see South Elgin High School receive an important grant to fund Career and Technical Education development.” 

The CTE Education Career Pathways Grants were awarded to 62 schools and vocational centers across the state, totaling more than $1.5 million. Among those schools are Batavia High School, Metea Valley High School, South Elgin High School, West Aurora High School and Yorkville High School. Currently, only 18% of teachers identify as people of color, but ISBE’s CTE Education Career Pathways Grants will help increase the diversity of the CTE teaching profession in Illinois. 

Applicants to the CTE Education Pathways Grant program submitted an implementation plan outlining how they would recruit underrepresented students into education careers. The grant also requires a partnership between grantees and institutions of higher education to ensure students can earn dual credit or other certifications while in high school.

“Our schools now have the funding to focus on recruiting and supporting future educators in the Career and Technical Education field, while ensuring they are well equipped to succeed in the classroom,” Villa said. “It’s important for students to have teachers and mentors who look like them and who can help prepare them for future job and education opportunities.”

A full list of the grant recipients is available on the ISBE website.