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Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University has entered into partnership with two organizations that bring important resources and capacities to the Critical Choices project. The Training Alliance of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and the national workforce development organization, Training Inc., collectively bring: 1) computer accessibility and convenience for the targeted learners; 2) non-governmental funding support for the program; 3) quality counseling services; 4) strong local and national reputation; and, 5) a history of successful outreach activities with the target population. Further, it is highly significant that the job retention rates achieved by graduates of both organizations far exceeds national averages (71% as compared with 40% nationally). NIU will provide: 1) project management skills; 2) expertise in web-based course development and an online course delivery platform; 3) expertise in counselor training and adult education; and, 4) evaluation skills.

Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a comprehensive teaching and research institution with a student enrollment of over 23,000. Located 65 miles west of Chicago, in one of the most dynamic regions of the country, with its main campus in the City of DeKalb, NIU also operates regional sites in Rockford, Hoffman Estates, Oregon, and Naperville. The university is composed of seven degree-granting colleges and 41 academic departments that together offer 52 undergraduate degree majors and 52 graduate degree majors.

eLearning Services helps extend the University's resources by providing customized elearning solutions for groups throughout the region. NIU's eLearning Services helps organizations migrate traditional education and training to the Web. Among its clients or partners for the eLearning services are the American Bar Association, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and the Shedd Aquarium.

The Department of Counseling, Adult, and Health Education has a nationally and internationally known faculty with specialties in Adult Education and Career Development. The Adult Education and Counseling programs offer master’s and doctoral degrees and a certificate in career development. Several faculty members within the department have a research and teaching emphases on career development, vocational services, urban and rural community development, and instructional technology. Their collective expertise will be applied to this program. The department also houses The Office of Research and Evaluation (RE/ACE)and the Career Resource Center (CRC) with evaluation, research and career computer-based services that will be utilized.

In addition, NIU was recently awarded the highest designation, Doctoral/Research-Extensive, by the Carnegie Foundation, was invited into full membership in the prestigious Universities Research Association, and is the newest member of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.

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