Just as the United States is known as the land of opportunity, it is also understood that education is the key to unlocking an individual’s potential. The Education is Key oral history project focuses on many of the facets of education in our state, telling a story that continues to evolve in our complex and dynamic society. This project preserves the history of education in Illinois, and studies both the triumphs as well as the many challenges that educators, students and community leaders face today.
The Illinois Community College System is one of the state’s hidden gems. Consisting of 39 community college districts, with forty-eight individual colleges and one consortium, the state’s many community colleges insure that a quality education is available to Illinoisans throughout the state. In fact, more students are enrolled in the state’s community colleges than are enrolled in the state's many four-year institutions. The Community College System performs many functions beyond its well known role as preparatory schools for traditional four year institutions. These include worker retraining, adult education, and certification programs. They are a point of pride for communities across the state.