ACES’ Home in Chicagoland

ACES’ Home in Chicagoland

Jun 30
Corey Flournoy, Director, Illinois Center for Urban Agricultural Education

In January of 2012, the College of ACES created a new center to expand its outreach and education to high school students throughout the Chicago area about the more than 100 career options connected to our college. However, over the last year and a half, this purpose has expanded to include educating administrators, high school counselors, and even science teachers about the strong connection between the agricultural industry and urban communities.

The Illinois Center for Urban Agricultural Education has developed and partnered in various initiatives, including “Get Ready for Career and College Exploration” brunches, special career seminars at high schools, professional development days for teachers, campus field trips, and career shadowing/seminar days with corporate partners such as Pepsico. As the center continues to expand its outreach efforts, our success will rely heavily on partnerships with other ACES alums, business partners, and community organizations in the Chicago area.

Despite the number of selective-enrollment high schools and growing number of Advanced Placement courses, today’s high school students are still not aware of the many career opportunities available, especially in the food, fiber, and environmental sciences. The more we can expose students to hands-on experiences in our field and connect them early to individuals actively involved in our industry, the greater our prospects for ensuring we have a great pipeline of talent to meet current and future needs in the agricultural industry.

As RAP, the Research Apprentice Program, celebrates its 25th anniversary, this is an excellent time to reconnect many of the alums from our summer programs with the College of ACES. Our alums are the best examples of the level of career success and personal fulfillment which can be achieved through our innovative industry. Our upcoming anniversary event on Saturday, August 2, will provide the opportunity to reengage with old friends, build new connections, and share in conversations to create a strong RAP for the future.