SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ community colleges say they’re on track to ensure that a majority of state residents have a college education by 2025.

Officials from community colleges throughout the state said at a Tuesday news conference that they’ll meet their annual benchmark for the fifth year in a row.

“A record-setting 69,036 degrees and certificates were earned by Illinois community colleges,” said Christine Sobek, president of the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents.

“This is an increase of more than 30 percent since 2009. Community colleges are critical to reaching these goals and very important to improve the economic prosperity of our state,” she added.

Complete College America, a nonprofit education advocacy group, estimates that 67 percent of Illinois jobs will require a college degree or certificate by 2020.

The state aims to provide 60 percent of Illinois adults with a college degree or career certificate.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Doug Whitley said the state’s business community supports the effort.

“Our state’s high unemployment rate is unacceptable and we all know it,” Whitley said. Yet employers all over the state of Illinois have very positive relationships with their local community colleges. We look forward to working with community colleges going forward to continue to train job-ready people.”

Illinois’ 48 community college campuses account for a majority of the state’s higher education enrollees.

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