ECC launches new programs and certificates in high-demand fields

  • Tags: Academics
Published 07/29/2019
Surgical Tech

Surgical Tech

Elgin Community College has designed and launched new programs and certificates in three areas of high demand: supply chain management, computer information sciences, and surgical technology. Courses are enrolling for the fall 2019 semester in each of these areas; classes begin Monday, August 19.

“Employers have told us that they need skilled workers in these areas,” said Cathy Taylor, dean of sustainability, business, and career technologies at ECC. “It’s one piece in a multi-step process to assess market needs, seek feedback from industry partners, and work with faculty to develop programs that align with employers’ needs. Being on the same page is so important.”

Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management is a high-demand career field comprised of people and businesses that design, procure, manufacture, warehouse, transport, and dispose of goods. Those who work in supply chain actively manage these interactions to meet customer requirements and ensure a smooth production, storage, and delivery process. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions for first-line supervisors of helpers, laborers, and material movers are anticipated to grow 8 percent through 2026.

Students can choose to earn a Supply Chain and Logistics Specialist Certificate or an Associate of Applied Science degree in Supply Chain Management. Program graduates will possess the skills and expertise needed for a wide range of supply chain roles within the warehouse, manufacturing, logistics, or transportation sectors of industry. Successful supply chain professionals are good at organizing details, recognizing connections, thinking efficiently, and streamlining processes.

“We listen to what employers need not just in specific job skills, but also overall employability,” said Taylor. “Our faculty are involved in program development to insert necessary skills like problem-solving and decision-making into our curriculum.”

For more information, visit

Computer Information Sciences

Through its Digital Technologies area, ECC is offering a Computer User Support Specialist Certificate and a Computer Network Specialist Certificate.

“Area employers have emphasized that there is an ongoing need for qualified help desk employees, so this certificate addresses a specific need within our community,” said Taylor. “What’s exciting is that these entry-level positions pave the way for additional opportunities when students build on the basics by ‘stacking’ additional certificates.”

Graduates with a Computer User Support Specialist Certificate will be prepared to provide technical support for organizations, employees, and customers often in the form of a “help desk” role. Computer user support specialists resolve computer problems by walking users through the necessary steps by phone or email, setup and repair computer equipment, and train users on new hardware and software.

The Computer Network Specialist Certificate expands on the principles learned in the user support coursework and prepares students to design, monitor, and maintain networks of all sizes. Computer network specialists communicate with vendors, assist users, diagnose issues, and respond to troubleshooting questions.

“The certificates create a seamless pathway for students who want to gain skills and continue their studies at four-year institutions.  In partnership with our workforce development division, this creates opportunities for current employees who want to become reskilled and advance in their career,” said Taylor.

Surgical Technology

Starting in fall 2019, students can earn a certificate in Sterile Processing and Distribution. This certificate program—fulfilled in a single course—teaches students how to decontaminate, sterilize, assemble, process, and distribute surgical instrumentation, supplies, and equipment.”

The course required for Sterile Processing and Distribution can also be applied to a newly developed Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology degree. Graduates of the AAS Surgical Technology Program can become certified surgical technologists who work under the supervision of a registered nurse or surgeon to facilitate surgical procedures. They ensure that the operating room environment is safe, that equipment functions correctly, and that the procedure is conducted under conditions that maximize patient well-being.

“Operating rooms cannot function without sterile processing professionals or surgical technologists,” said Bridget Hoffenkamp, ECC’s director of surgical technology. “Sterile processing and surgical technology graduates can take advantage of many job opportunities, both locally and throughout the nation.”

Additional application requirements apply to the Sterile Processing and Distribution certificate and the Surgical Technology Program. For more information on the sterile processing certificate and the surgical technology degree, please call 847-214-7018 or visit