Sandburg Hosts Illinois Senator Mike Halpin on Listening Tour

GALESBURG — Carl Sandburg College hosted Illinois Sen. Mike Halpin on Thursday in his first visit to the college as part of his listening tour of Illinois community colleges and universities.

Halpin serves as chair of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee and represents the 36th District, which covers a significant portion of Sandburg’s district, including Galesburg and Monmouth. He was elected to the Illinois Senate in 2022 after three terms in the statehouse.

Halpin’s listening tour includes visits and conversations with leaders at each of the community colleges and four-year colleges and universities in his district to learn more about their needs, goals for the future and how the Illinois legislature can help reach those objectives.

Halpin met with Sandburg President Dr. Seamus Reilly and other college administrators. Reilly thanked Halpin for his efforts to date in support of higher education. He expressed his gratitude for the stability in state funding, which has made it easier for colleges to plan strategically.

Reilly detailed how the challenge of finding reliable and affordable childcare and transportation creates obstacles for current students as well as others who may want to attend Sandburg. He, Dean of Nursing Professions Dr. Emily Schaeffer and Dean of Health Professions Dr. Tiffany Viggiano also spoke about funding for the Pipeline for the Advancement of the Healthcare Workforce (PATH) program, which has provided financial assistance for students to support those transportation and childcare costs.

Other topics college leaders and Halpin discussed included the potential for students to get free retraining at Sandburg through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; creating apprenticeship programs with local businesses; addressing the shortage of teachers and nurses; the growth of online learning since the COVID-19 pandemic; mental health services for students; and funding sustainability for community colleges in the state.

“We very much appreciate the opportunity to meet with Sen. Halpin and his team, and we look forward to working closely with his office to support continued access and funding for our district,” Reilly said.

Illinois Sen. Mike Halpin (left) speaks with Carl Sandburg College President Dr. Seamus Reilly during a visit to Sandburg on Aug. 10 as part of Halpin’s listening tour of Illinois colleges and universities.

Carl Sandburg College President Dr. Seamus Reilly (right) talks with Illinois Sen. Mike Halpin at a roundtable discussion during Halpin’s visit to Sandburg on Aug. 10 as part of his listening tour of Illinois colleges and universities.