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2024 - Virtual Reality Grant to Help Elgin Community College Students Explore Careers

Tags: Student Resources
Published 03/07/2024
ECC student Chris Lara tries the virtual reality headset

ECC student Chris Lara tries the virtual reality headset

Elgin Community College has received a $94,000 grant from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to help implement virtual reality equipment into Career and Technical Education programs.


The funding will allow ECC to purchase VR hardware and software to recruit and instruct students in a variety of workforce training programs for industries including, but not limited to healthcare, criminal justice, manufacturing, and HVAC. The awarded $766,000 grant was split between 12 Illinois community colleges. 


“This offers us a very unique opportunity to engage with students and potential students in a way we’ve never been able to,” said Tim Whitney, director of corporate and community education at ECC. “Students will have the chance to explore dozens of careers in a short amount of time. You can try to explain to someone what it’s like to repair a radio tower or assist with a knee replacement, but there’s no comparison to actually experiencing it.”


The college plans to work with its academic departments to test the technology's viability as a classroom tool, as well. Students can try activities in a safe environment before doing them in the real world. 


“This could be a huge value to some of our technical and clinical programs — “and, frankly, it’s a lot of fun,” Whitney said.


The two-year grant program was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker in Fiscal Year 2024. Individual grant amounts were awarded based on college program and equipment needs.


For more information on career and technical programs at ECC, visit