Adam Kinzinger started his speech at Rasmussen College's ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning with a joke. “As you can tell, I’m not far removed from being in college,” the 32-year-old congressman (R-Illinois) said.
But the key speeches all turned toward the dire state of the economy and the recent state income tax hike passed by Illinois lawmakers on Jan. 12. All of the speakers agreed that though now is not a promising time for businesses to open in Illinois, the situation will improve and businesses will continue to thrive.
Kinzinger said he attended the State of the Union address on Jan. 25 and mentioned President Barack Obama's words about the ever-changing economy and the importance of staying competitive in our education.
“We’re going to pull through all of this,” Kinzinger said. “Few new things are being built, so it’s great to see new businesses opening during this economy.”
John Greuling, president and CEO of Will County Center for Economic Development said "the workforce of today will create the workforce of tomorrow, so we need Rasmussen to educate people for the occupations of tomorrow.”
Greuling said Will County will aim to create 15,000 to 20,000 jobs, and the high-end manufacturers and thinkers will come from Rasmussen.
Will County Executive Larry Walsh shared his enthusiasm for Rasmussen choosing Will County for another campus. One campus is already open in Romeoville.
“We need Rasmussen to provide an education system that will provide an education workforce that we’ll need as Will County continues to move forward,” Walsh said.
He complimented the Lincoln-Way school system, calling it one of the best education systems in Illinois, and that those schools will bring students to Rasmussen.
“You don’t even have to leave home to get a super education,” Walsh said, earning laugher and applause from the crowd.
According to Staci Hegarty, campus director for the Mokena/Tinley Park campus of Rasmussen College, this campus employs 15 people and has about 100 students already enrolled.
“Everyone’s been so welcoming and excited,” Hegarty said of Mokena. “There is certainly a need for higher education in the area, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
During the ceremony, Victoria Dooley of Tinley Park was awarded a $5,000 scholarship, one of 26 scholarships commemorating Rasmussen College’s 110th anniversary. Dooley has been taking courses with Rasmussen since October and is working toward obtaining her associate’s degree in medical assisting.
“I decided to attend Rasmussen College because I heard a lot of good reviews about it and heard they had a good medical program,” Dooley said. “They also really work with your schedule.”
Rasmussen College Mokena/Tinley Park campus has been open since August 2010 for online courses, but the college just opened its doors to on-campus classes, which the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated. The college offers bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs through five schools, including business, technology and design, justice studies, education and allied health.