For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

ISBE awards $1.5 million in Education Career Pathways Grants to recruit future educators

Illinois adds Educators Rising as a Career and Technical Student Organization, to provide funding for student leadership activities 
Efforts continue to grow and diversify the pipeline of teachers in Illinois 

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has awarded Career and Technical Education (CTE) Education Career Pathways Grants totaling $1,548,872 to 10 regional entities to recruit and support future educators at 38 high schools and vocational centers across the state. Students in CTE Education Career Pathways will get a head start on teacher preparation through opportunities for hands-on learning, dual credit, credentials, and mentorship. In total through two rounds of grants, ISBE has awarded more than $3.5 million in state funding to the initiative, supporting more than 1,000 high school students toward becoming teachers. 
Governor JB Pritzker's fiscal year 2020 budget included the first increase in state funding for CTE in five years, making the Education Career Pathways Grants possible. Governor Pritzker's FY 2021 budget maintained this higher level of funding for CTE, ensuring sustainability for the pathways program in this second year.
“Since the first days of my governorship, I’ve directed our limited state resources toward the very investments that make our state thrive: more job creating businesses, improved care for our most vulnerable children and seniors, and of course early childhood and K-12 education,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “By prioritizing funding for the critical Education Career Pathways Grants, Illinois is ensuring the teachers of tomorrow reflect our state’s diverse communities and are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.” 
ISBE’s CTE Education Career Pathways Grants will help increase the diversity of the teaching profession in Illinois and increase access to CTE among students of color. Fifty-three percent of the student population of Education Career Pathways Grant recipients identify as people of color, compared to 18 percent of Illinois teachers and 42 percent of students currently enrolled in CTE programs statewide.
Illinois also added Educators Rising as a new Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO), an action that provides funding for student leadership activities. School districts can now use state and federal CTE funding to establish and support their own Educators Rising CTSO. Educators Rising works with aspiring educators who reflect the demographics of their communities and who are passionate about serving those communities through public education. Their mission is to cultivate the next generation of highly skilled educators by guiding young people on a path from high school through college and into their teaching careers.
“As we have seen time and time again throughout the pandemic, teachers are the heart and soul of their communities,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “The Education Career Pathways Grants and Educators Rising CTSO provide the same kind of support for aspiring educators as for students interested in careers in technology, business, agriculture, and manufacturing. Now, our future teachers will receive similar opportunities for leadership, recognition, and early college credit. These initiatives are critical to strengthening and diversifying the teacher pipeline in Illinois.”
“Sixty percent of teachers work within 20 miles of where they went to school. Educators Rising offers a model to recruit, retain, and develop teachers from within our communities,” said Educators Rising Illinois Coordinator and 2018 Illinois Teacher of the Year Dr. Lindsey L. Jensen. “With the support of ISBE and Illinois State Teachers of the Year, we aim to provide a clear pathway to increase teacher diversity and teacher quality in Illinois, while offering a comprehensive curriculum which focuses on anti-bias instruction, classroom culture, collaboration, formative assessment, and learner engagement.”
Pathways grantees submitted an implementation plan outlining how they will recruit underrepresented students into education careers to help meet the high demand for teachers of color across Illinois. The grant also requires a partnership between grantees and institutions of higher education, so students can earn dual credit or credentials and certifications prior to high school graduation. 
CTE programs prepare students for both the workforce and the pursuit of postsecondary opportunities by developing their technical and employability skills while also strengthening their core academic abilities.
Ten Education for Employment (EFE) systems and community colleges will receive the grant to support the development of education career pathways at area high schools and vocational centers. The grantees are:
EFE System or Community CollegeSchools or Centers
Career Development System #065 - $201,500
  • Thornton Fractional North High Schoo
  • Thornton Fractional South High School
Northwest Educational Council for Student Success #070 - $83,000
  • Prospect High School
  • John Hersey High School
  • Fremd High School
Career and Technical Education Consortium #220 - $249,000
  • Freeport High School
Madison County Career and Technical Education System - $84,839
  • Civic Memorial High School
  • Highland High School
  • Southwestern High School
  • Triad High School
DuPage Area Occupational Education System #090 - $23,311
  • Metea Valley High School
  • Neuqua Valley High School
  • Waubonsie Valley High School
Valley Education for Employment System #130 - $213,000
  • Batavia High School
  • Yorkville High School
  • West Aurora High School
  • Indian Valley Vocational Center
  • Fox Valley Career Center
Sauk Valley Community College - $249,000
  • Aston-Franklin High School
  • Amboy High School
  • Forrestville High School
  • Prophetstown High School
  • Sterling High School
  • Center for Change
Northern Kane #110 - $137,069
  • Dundee-Crown High School
  • Hampshire High School
  • Central High School
  • South Elgin High School
  • Elgin High School
  • Larkin High School
Shawnee Community College - $249,000
  • Anna-Jonesboro High School
  • Carterville High School
  • Cobden High School
  • Frankfort High School
  • Johnston City High School
  • Joppa High School
  • Massac County High School
  • Meridian High School
  • Vienna High School
Heartland Region #390 - $59,153
  • Heartland Technical Academy