Northwest Educational Council for Student Success (NECSS)

Community Contact Information

Recent Updates

September 2019 — High School District 214 hosted a Construction Trades Pathway Development Advisory Team in August. Community business partners and representatives for the trades, along with D214 teachers and administrators, came together to discuss the creation of a more formal sequence of coursework in the construction & trades pathway. D214 values the input of professionals in the field with a goal of delivering relevant curriculum and experiences to their students that will meet the talent demand of the industry.

Specifically, these key stakeholders defined essential knowledge and skills students need to succeed in the workforce. A framework of opportunities that include both authentic work-based learning and post-secondary educational experiences were created. The outcome of this collaboration is a Youth Apprenticeship Trades Pathway. The scope and sequence includes orientation coursework, skill development, a capstone on-site paid work experience in the construction trades through District 214’s Practical Architecture & Construction (PAC) Program, and dual credit/college coursework with  postsecondary partners.

The Youth Apprenticeship in Construction and Building Trades is the latest addition to the District 214 apprenticeships in HVAC, IT/Cybersecurity, Automotive Technology, and CNA.


March 2019 — District 214 has started 5 registered youth apprenticeships in 3 career areas: Cybersecurity, Automotive Technology, and HVAC. The apprentices started in Fall 2018 and will complete their apprenticeship by high school graduation in June 2021.

Students will earn a certificate in the career area from the community college partner, as well as their high school diploma, and potentially a high school diploma endorsement. These apprenticeships are another component added on to the District 214’s continuum of workplace learning experiences for high school students.

Students that were interested in the apprenticeship applied at the beginning of their junior year of high school and underwent a rigorous multi-step interview process before being accepted into the program. The apprentices will work approximately 15 hours per week of paid on-the-job training, take courses at the community college partner, and take the remainder of the high school graduation requirements at their home high school. The college partners for these apprenticeships are Triton College (Automotive), Harper College (HVAC), and Moraine Valley College (Cybersecurity).


December 2018 — NECSS hosted a summit on the Suburbanization of Poverty on Friday, November 9th at Harper College. The theme of the summit was “Better Together” to reflect attendance by teachers, counselors and administrators from Districts 211, 214, 220, and Harper College as well as local business and non-profit organization leaders. United Palatine Coalition and United Way Metro Chicago were our partners in this endeavor. Read More

This event falls in line with the region’s equity objectives. The event was featured in the Daily Herald: Read More. The day began with Elizabeth Kneebone painting a national picture of suburban poverty based upon research found in her book: Confronting Suburban Poverty. Kneebone is Senior Non-Resident Fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and Research Director for the Terner Center for Housing Innovation with the University of California Berkeley. Colleagues from local non-profit organizations provided local context on available resources along with members of the community from low-income backgrounds. Attendees also received a resource guide. In the afternoon, participants engaged in a poverty simulation whereby they experienced a month in the life of a family in poverty. Responses were highly favorable with 100% agreement that attendees felt better equipped to serve student in poverty after attendees. Sample responses included:

“This was such a wonderful opportunity; thank you for offering resources and firsthand stories to exemplify the types of impacts our community partners are making in the lives of students and families.”

“This morning was beneficial in that it provided information showing the needs in our community and then detailing some efforts that are already underway to improve living conditions for members of our community in need.”

“I will share this info among elected officials, candidates, and campaigners.”

“Well designed and great resources.”

“This was fabulous!”

“The real voices heard this morning plus the simulation made the day.”

March 2018 — District 214, one of the districts served by NECSS has developed a framework for counselors based on the PaCE framework.The framework provides counselors with a tool that indicates what is expected for students to ensure they are making progress on meeting college and career readiness standards applicable to both  Harper Promise and Redefining Ready. You can see the framework here.

May 2017 — Districts 211 and 214, working with partners in the Golden Corridor, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, and employers across the region, held the first Illinois Energy Efficient Vehicle Competition on May 8th at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, the culmination of months of work for 8 high schools working with partner employers to compete in designing, building, and testing a small one-person vehicle with a focus on gasoline mileage. In the past, students in Illinois have competed in energy efficient vehicle competitions in Wisconsin and elsewhere; as a result of this community’s efforts, Illinois is now able to host their own, which gives students the opportunity to participate in this authentic learning experience in their home state. This collaborative effort provides an excellent foundation for students who are interested in careers in engineering, manufacturing, and transportation technology and can serve as an excellent model in getting employers involved in the classroom through authentic learning. The community looks forward to extending this opportunity to other communities across the state next year! For more information, visit

Region Story

The Northwest Educational Council for Student Success (NECSS) is a secondary and postsecondary regional educational collaborative. It brings together influential champions, provides resources to support planning processes and has created an infrastructure to allow for collective impact. This partnership focuses on student success and opportunities, teacher qualifications and professional development, and enriching collaboration among all district partners and the local communities.

NECSS partners include Township High School Districts 211, 214, Community Unit School District 220, Harper College and Education For Employment (EFE) 070. Each entity plays a vital role in ensuring students are college and career ready at the secondary and postsecondary education levels. Consortium members work together structuring learning environments where all students have the opportunity to succeed educationally and acquire the knowledge and skills business and industry require.

Areas of Expertise

  • Dual Credit
  • Employer Engagement
  • Core Curriculum Alignment
  • Credentialing

Community/Region of Focus

Harper College/EFE 70 regions

Prioritized STEM Industry Clusters

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Health Science
  • Information Technology

Key Successes to Date by STEM Industry Cluster

Advanced Manufacturing:  Internship Fair; DOL presentation on internships for students under 18; Harper Apprenticeships, pathway pipeline from high school to Harper

Health Sciences:  Increased dual credit courses; new grant; HOSA involvement; pathway pipeline from high school to Harper

Information Technology:  Defined high school pathways leading to college courses

Outreach to sending middle schools and elementary schools through STEM programs: Girls in Engineering and Math (GEMS) and Next Generation STEM after school programs.

Key Activities for Future School Years by STEM Industry Cluster: ·

Advanced Manufacturing: Increased students in dual credit coursework in advanced manufacturing;  TMA apprenticeships; Increased Work-based learning experiences

Health Sciences:  Curriculum realignment work between high school and Harper college to help accelerate student admission to limited enrollment programs e.g. nursing, dental hygiene, EMT

IT:  Community college is realigning courses to meet rapidly changing industry demand. Once completed , new dual credit discussions will begin.

Local High Mileage Car Competition. Local business and school districts