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Heartland Community College

Heartland receives ICCB grant to expand HALO program

December 18, 2023

Heartland Community College will be expanding opportunities in a program for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and learning challenges. 

Funding administered from an Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) Innovative Bridge and Transition grant will expand programming in the Heartland Academy for Learning Opportunities (HALO) program. 

The HALO program offers a higher education experience for students 18-28 with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and other learning challenges. The program connects students with the academic, social/recreational, and soft skills necessary for a successful transition to adulthood. 

“This funding furthers our efforts to support students participating in our HALO program,” said Kori Folkerts, Heartland Director of Student Access & Accommodation Services. “Previous dollars from this grant allowed Heartland to double the number of students who participate in the program at our Main Campus location in Normal. Now we will be able to offer HALO programming at our Pontiac location as well.” 

Through opportunity, support, and access, HALO students develop increased confidence to function independently on campus and in the community. Students gain confidence in many skill areas, including cooking, managing money, reading for life, computer technology, social development, community awareness, health and wellness, independent living, and math for life. 

Supported by the $264,000 grant, the HALO program will be able to expand offerings to the Pontiac area at that regional campus. The funding will also help Heartland offer more tuition waivers for HALO students and expand college-wide training on inclusivity with a focus on students with disabilities. 

The Innovative Bridge and Transition Grant program (IBT) funds are intended to help colleges and community organizations meet four main objectives including transitions for students with disabilities. 

Previous IBT grant funding helped Heartland develop four additional courses to the HALO Expansion/Transition year: Transition to College/Basic Skills, Success Education, Professionalism/Career Preparation, and Social-Emotional Development. 

For more information about HALO and the program’s application process, please visit 

Written by: Steve Fast