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Cook County Higher Education makes Education Accessible to a Rural Community

It can be difficult to obtain a higher education or the training you need to obtain or keep a job when you live over 100 miles from the nearest college or university. That’s why Cook County Higher Education (CCHE) came together to address that need.

In 1996, the non-profit organization CCHE was founded to “address four critical issues facing our rural, remote community [Grand Marais],” says CCHE’s Student Support Coordinator Lenna Stever-Sobanja. These four issues were extreme isolation, skilled worker shortages, limited career advancement, and a lack of higher education opportunities. “CCHE makes it possible for loCook County Higher Education makes Education Accessible to a Rural Community By Haley Searls cal residents to earn a certificate, diploma, or degree that leads to living-wage employment right here in our community,” says SteverSobanja.

CCHE’s mission is to provide education, training, access, and support based in Cook County. Though their target clientele is Cook County, CCHE does offer their services to those outside of the county.

Stever-Sobanja’s role at CCHE focuses on making educational opportunities accessible, whether that be proctoring CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and DSST (Dantes Subject Standardized Test) exams, finding training and certifications to advance someone’s career, researching online courses and programs, FAFSA assistance, managing student loans, searching for scholarships, or finding a tutor.

CCHE works with PCs for People to provide refurbished laptops to purchase, which are installed with Windows 10 and Office Suite, for as little as $15000. CCHE has their own online application process to request a laptop at https://mycche.org/laptop-application/. In this age of technology, a reliable laptop and access to the internet can do much to further one’s education or career.

American Red Cross, CPR, AED, and First Aid trainings are offered monthly through CCHE, giving 87 community members the opportunity to become certified in these areas in 2022. Questions about CCHE’s trainings and courses can be emailed to Associate Director – Program Director Kelsey Rogers Kennedy at programs@myCCHE.org.

Also in 2022, CCHE formed a partnership with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Advanced MN, and others to begin a Commercial Driver’s License program for Cook County residents. This partnership formed in order to fill the need for bus and truck drivers in the county.

Other free and reduced-cost programs provided through CCHE’s programming scholarships include learning opportunities such as Chainsaw and Tree Felling Safety, Excel, Welding, and Ojibwe Language classes. These programs are held in-person at CCHE or a partner location, as well as online through Zoom, or prerecorded at myCCHE.org.

Whether you need classes, training, tutoring, test proctoring, reliable internet, or other resources to advance your education or career, Cook County Higher Education staff are available to help you. Learn more about CCHE at mycche.org.

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