CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday appointed former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias to serve as chairman of the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), a non-paid, voluntary 11-member board, which governs the state’s 48 community colleges.

Giannoulias will focus on increasing graduation rates to achieve the state’s “60 by 25” goal, which calls for 60 percent of Illinois’ adult population to hold a college degree or career certificate by 2025, up from about 40 percent today, a release from Quinn’s office said.

Giannoulias will also develop success standards in terms of degrees awarded and job placement; seek to better prepare high school students who enroll in community colleges for college-level work; increase access to community colleges for low-income and rural residents; and boost the number of credits that can transfer from community college to public universities.

“Community colleges play a vital role in creating the workforce of the 21st century by providing economical, flexible and effective training degrees,” Giannoulias said.

“Since putting Americans back to work is the single greatest challenge facing our country, a well-trained, well-educated workforce is absolutely crucial to America’s future. To ensure that every young adult has the tools for gainful employment, our community college system must help students graduate with a meaningful degree that will enable them to find a job.”

Giannoulias served as Illinois Treasurer from 2007 to 2011. Beginning this September, he will teach a political science course at Northwestern University in Evanston as an adjunct professor, the release said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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