February 2021

Happy New Year! As we leave a challenging 2020 behind, I am optimistic for our future and the opportunities that lie ahead. The ICSPS team and I are excited to collaborate with you as we all work together serve students and make the system even stronger. We hope you think of ICSPS as your trusted partner as we strive to provide high quality professional learning opportunities that support student access and transition, system integration, and equity. I believe that by working together we can continue to offer equitable opportunities that put a brighter future within reach of so many people in Illinois.

"Every day, we write the future / Together, we sign it / Together, we declare it / We share it / For this truth marches on / Inside each of us.”

-Believer’s Hymn for the Republic, by Amanda Gorman

ICSPS looks forward to our continued partnership as we work together to meet our goal of supporting the success of every learner in the new year.

Aime'e Julian, PhD
Director, Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support

Mark your Calendars!
2021 WIOA Summit
Date: April 27-28, 2021
Location: ONLINE
The Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project (ATTA) provides professional learning, research, and development of resources focused on supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are transitioning from secondary education to postsecondary education or the workforce. ATTA specifically focuses on providing professional development and support for 6 key stakeholders: the student or young adult, their families, secondary educators and counselors, postsecondary faculty and support services, employers, and members of the community.

Visit our website to view these resources, videos, and documents.

One document that is popular among all of our stakeholders is:

When Should I Disclose My Autism
Disclosure or the decision to tell someone you have autism spectrum disorder is a personal and sometimes sensitive process. This document provides a list of considerations in academic, employment, and social contexts. It will help you consider questions such as why disclose and how to disclose. Also, it will assist in weighing the benefits and risks of disclosure. Download "When Should I Disclose My Autism" and other helpful guides here.
One of the primary missions of ICSPS is to encourage professionals to educate equitably, so the Executive Order advancing a comprehensive approach to equity for all came as welcome news.

On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order that advances equity and support for underserved communities through the Federal Government. The Order recognizes that diversity is one of American’s greatest strengths, yet entrenched disparities in our laws, public policies, and our public and private institutions have put the American Dream out of reach for many individuals and communities. The Order goes on to state that “…the Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.” According to the Order, advancing equity across the Federal Government will “…create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone.” The Executive Order also provides for a Domestic Policy Council that will “coordinate efforts to embed equity principles, policies, and approaches across the Federal Government.” Read the entire Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government here
Want to turn your website into a recruiting machine? ICSPS has got you covered! The Center has developed 16 Best Practices for making your website effective for recruitment. We only had room to list the top five, but you can download all 16.

1.   Use consistent branding throughout the website and social media marketing campaign including font, logos, color schemes, and imagery.

2.   Leave plenty of “white space” (this can be any varying color white, grey, black, etc.) between elements for aesthetic and to separate elements.

3.   Reduce the number of choices you offer visitors to your site.

4.   Limit menu headings and pathways to minimal possible for organized content.

5.   Provide simple and easy-to-use navigation including a search window that is accurate with key words. 

Download all 16 ICSPS Best Practices for Making Your Website Effective for Recruitment.
In 2017, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity Education Foundation (NAPE) was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to implement the Intermountain STEM network (IM STEM).
The final report shares the experiences of the members of the IM STEM network as they piloted the use of collective impact as a model for creating state level systems change to impact equity gaps in STEM and CTE. Learn about how the IM STEM network applied the elements of collective impact working with state and local level partners across six states - CO, ID, NM, NV, UT, and WY. The authors share the success, challenges and recommendations for those who would want to consider implementing a similar model. Download the Executive Summary and the Full Report here.
Celebrate CTE Month - Ideas From ACTE
  • Share social media messages on ACTE's Twitter or Facebook or share your own success stories on social media using #CTEMonth.
  • Learn more about the esteemed Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) by visiting the CTSO Showcase. CTSOs offer students innovative programming, authentic leadership experiences and business and community opportunities at the school, state and national levels.
  • Gear up with festive CTE Month merchandise to show your support for CTE.
  • Encourage your students to participate in the CTE Month-NASA HUNCH student video challenge, Advancing Space Exploration Through Manufacturing.”
  • Download the CTE Month logo for use with any of your print and digital outreach.
According to the ICCB Career and Technical Education Annual Report for FY 2020, Illinois community colleges provided a combined total of 4,288 approved CTE degree and certification programs. Illinois community colleges have continued to provide CTE programs and support services throughout the COVID pandemic by shifting gears to educate students virtually and creating socially distanced classrooms and labs.
Super Strategies to Support Special Populations
Webinar Series

Join ICSPS as we continue our deeper dive into our Super Strategies for Perkins V Special Populations. Each webinar will share support strategies and services that can be utilized by secondary and postsecondary systems. Methods for recruiting and informing students about CTE programs will also be discussed. Each webinar will focus on a specific special population. Webinars will be held twice monthly through February, with the final webinar being held on March 10, 2021.

Super Strategies for Students Interested in Nontraditional Fields
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Super Strategies for Parenting Teens, Single Parents, and Pregnant Mothers
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Super Strategies for Out-of-Workforce Individuals
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Professional Development from ICSPS through the Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project
Monthly Webinar Series

Transition to Postsecondary Education
February 9, 2021 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Self-Assessment and Self-Advocacy: Helping Others Speak up for Their Needs
March 9, 2021 10:00 am - 11:00 am

April 13, 2021 10:00 am - 11:00 am
WIOA Wednesday Webinars

Careers in Demand: Pivoting in a Pandemic - SESSION TWO
February 3, 2021 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Careers in Demand: Pivoting in a Pandemic - SESSION THREE
February 10, 2021 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Connie Borowski - has been part of ICSPS for over 20 years, joining the Center in 1999. As the Center’s administrative aide, Connie manages the ICSPS office, functions as its historian/records manager, processes all ICSPS fiscal interactions, and works closely with other University departments such as printing, purchasing, and general services. Connie’s job description include project management and fiscal management of all grants associated with ICSPS. "ICSPS is an incredible place to work. The entire staff have an amazing work ethic and are all dedicated to the mission of the Center. What I love most about my job is the personal relationships that have been created throughout the State whether it is only a technical assistance request or conversations had during conferences/workshops at the registrar’s desk."
Martha Smith - joined the ICSPS team in August 2018 as the office support specialist. While most of her time is spent managing registration, coordinating logistics, and preparing materials for professional development events; she also serves as editor for the ICSPS newsletter, and is a staff member for the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board. Martha came to ICSPS after a 20-year career at State Farm Insurance where she held roles as a communication analyst, research analyst, and video producer. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Illinois State University and is very happy to be back at her alma mater, working with "the most dedicated team I've ever been a part of."