Enrollment jumps 68% at Galesburg Area Vocational Center, which serves 8 schools
GALESBURG — Enrollment in the Galesburg Area Vocational Center (GAVC) is expected to skyrocket this year compared to last year, from 233 students to 392.
Adam Seaney, president of the GAVC, attributed the jump in enrollment to the GAVC’s effort to recruit students, which he said has increased since the start of the pandemic. This is Seaney's first year heading the GAVC. Previously, he was high school principal at ROWVA.
The GAVC used to be housed in Galesburg High School, but since it moved across the street to 940 W Fremont in 2021 Seaney said he has been working closely with counselors, principals and students in area high schools to advertise the vocational center’s benefits.
The GAVC offers year-long programs with daily classes for students culminating in “precision exams” that can provide students the experience, skills and industry-recognized certifications needed to enter a wide range of careers.
Seaney said the center also works closely with local employers like Pegasus or the Midstate Manufacturing Co. to bring students on site to learn what a career in a certain field actually looks like. Seaney said the GAVC is useful for young people long-term, even if they don't end up pursing a career in the field they study.
“I look at a program like our building trades or our automotive,” Seaney said. “Our goal is to prepare kids if they're going into that field, but also even if kids are not planning to go into that field, they're going to own a car one day, they're going to own a house, so you're going to have repairs.”
The specific programs the GAVC provides include: automotive, computer science, building, culinary, early childhood education, electricity, engineering design, fire science, health occupations, intro to teaching, intro to pharmacology, intro to law enforcement, nutrition, web development, welding and emerging technologies like drone operation or virtual-reality development.
The high schools the GAVC serves include Abingdon-Avon, Galesburg, Knoxville, Monmouth-Roseville, ROWVA, United, West Central and Williamsfield.
As previously reported by the Register-Mail, enrollment in the GAVC was at nearly 300 students prior to the pandemic.
Of the 290 students enrolled in the 2020-2021 academic year, 66 earned dual college credit at Sandburg and 13 from Illinois Central College, 38 became Certified Nursing Assistants — and 84 continued into a Career and Technical Education field following graduation.
Seaney said the health occupations field is often the center’s most popular program but enrollment numbers are up across the board.