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Wednesday, May 13, 2015
KCC President Dr. John Avendano to Chair Coalition for Hope & Excellence in Education (CHEE) Board of Directors
KANKAKEE, IL – May 13, 2015 – The Coalition for Hope & Excellence in Education (CHEE) – Kankakee County's workforce development collaborative – has announced its board of directors. Members of the executive committee include Dr. John Avendano, Kankakee Community College President, Board Chairman; Matt McBurnie, Riverside Healthcare Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Vice Chairman; Matt Olszewski, People's Bank Chief Credit Officer, Treasurer; and Judy Brinkman, BASF Kankakee Site Manager, Secretary.
Rounding out the board as of this date are Amy LaFine, Presence St. Mary's Hospital; Theodis Pace, NAACP; Dr. Genevra Walters, Superintendent Kankakee District 111; Dr. Gregg Murphy, Regional Superintendent of Schools; and Dr. Jeff Williamson, Olivet Nazarene University.
Executive Director is Dr. Susan Emmerich.
The mission of the CHEE is to prepare a college- and career-ready and skilled workforce and increase student persistence and graduation rates in Kankakee County, Illinois. This workforce imperative was identified and codified as a high priority in Kankakee County's 2014-19 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which was certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration in April 2014.
CHEE's phased plan involves, initially, a four-year pilot program of student mentorship at Kankakee High School that creates a robust platform for business-to-school partnerships, internships, job shadowing and like activities. The program will be measured and assessed for replication in other priority school districts in Kankakee County.
Launched in 2014, the CHEE collaborative is administered by the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County and Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley.
The Economic Alliance of Kankakee County is a public-private partnership that works to create jobs and expand the economic base by improving the local business climate. Working under Kankakee County's 2014-19 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), the Alliance is challenged to help spur $500 million in new business investment and 500 new jobs, along with assisting 150 prospective new businesses. For more information, visit or phone 815.935.1177.
The purpose of the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley is to enhance the quality of life in Greater Kankakee County and adjacent areas today and for future generations. A vehicle for charitable giving that builds over time, the Community Foundation brings together individuals and organizations to identify and understand community issues and grant-making opportunities. For more information, visit