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County engineers visit Lake Land College touring technology programs

Nearly 30 engineers from the Illinois Association of County Engineers recently visited Lake Land College  in order to conduct their quarterly business meeting in addition to touring and reviewing the Lake Land College Technology Division programs. 

Galen Altman, civil engineering technology instructor and coordinator addressed the group, specifically explaining the college’s Civil Engineering Technology Program. 

“The goal of our program is to create a really well rounded civil engineering technician,” explained Altman. “I’ve met a lot of counties and road departments that hire graduates and have to turn around and invest additional training costs because they really didn’t get the skills they needed to succeed in the field. We work really hard to not have that issue with graduates from the Lake Land program.”

Altman attributed the success of Lake Land graduates in the civil engineering industry to a couple of things – a progressive, inter-disciplinary education and Supervised Occupational Experiences (SOEs).  According to Altman, students in the program receive a broad spectrum of classroom topics including surveying, civil drafting, and GIS theory and application, in addition to traditional technician classes like soils and aggregates, civil construction and technical math. 

“We really strive to keep coursework current so that our students have the most up-to-date skills in the industry and can hit the ground running,” said Altman. 

Additionally, SOEs give students on-the-job experience, which Altman said is an integral part of training a technician. During the 15-month SOE placement, students are employed through a variety of organizations like highway departments, contractors, consulting engineering firms or municipal organizations. While getting the hands-on experience they need, students also earn college credit and in most cases, a salary. 

“The knowledge gained during the field cooperative work experience is very good for building a resume for future employment and it allows the students to earn while they learn,” said Altman.

For the SOEs, employers of Lake Land students are reimbursed up to 50 percent of the students’ wages through a grant funded by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, which according to Altman, makes the program very attractive to employers. In many instances, civil engineering technology students are hired on full-time after graduation at the same organization where they did their SOE.  

To learn more about the Civil Engineering Technology program, contact Altman at (217) 234-5342 or galtman@lakeland.cc.il.us. For more information regarding the Technology Division at Lake Land College, visit: www.lakeland.cc.il.us/as/tec/index.cfm. 

 


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