Kankakee Community College was organized in October 1966 by a group of citizens concerned with providing a post-secondary educational resource for the people of the Kankakee area. The college offered its first classes in September 1968. Since that date, it has served as an educational, vocational, and recreational center for residents of Community College District 520, an area encompassing all or part of Kankakee, Iroquois, Ford, Grundy, Livingston, and Will counties and serving a population of approximately 150,000.
From its beginnings in a rented room in the Kankakee Hotel, KCC has grown to an accredited educational institution offering associate degrees and certificates of completion in more than 45 disciplines. In addition, numerous continuing education courses are offered to area residents each semester. The Department of Adult and Community Education offers adult basic education and General Educational Development programs throughout the district for adults wanting to complete their secondary education. It also offers English classes for non-English-speaking students.
KCC plays a key role in workforce development within the college district. The college's Office of Corporate and Continuing Education offers seminars and customized training to the business community, as well as a wide variety of personal enrichment courses.
The original faculty team of 13 instructors has grown to more than 200 full- and part-time instructors. Two of the six original buildings that comprised the college's temporary campus now house a portion of the Workforce Investment Act program, and the Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging.
The college completed Phase I of its permanent facility in 1972 and Phase II in 1973. Phase I and II, which include the three-story main building and two-story Technology Building, house more than 60 classrooms and laboratories, a Learning Resource Center, College Center, cafeteria, auditorium and administrative offices. The George H. Ryan Activities Center for athletic and recreational programs opened in the fall of 1988.
In spring 1993, the one-story Prairie Building opened, connecting the Technology Building to the main building, and a three-story addition was added to the east wing of the main building. The project added eight classrooms plus a conference facility and provided for the expansion of the College Center, food service facilities, and bookstore.
A Workforce Development Center covering 49,900 square feet was completed in 2004. It connects to the main administration building on the southeast wing. The first floor is dedicated to workforce training, including facilities for customized training for local businesses. The second floor includes classrooms and a conference room and the third floor has additional classrooms and faculty offices.
The newest building on campus is the 41,000 square foot Arts & Sciences Building at the northwest end of the main campus. This building provides new science facilities and houses art programs as well. It opened in January 2007.
Recently, the college renovated the former nursing and science lab into a new Health Careers Center for Excellence. The renovated space encompasses 22,000 square feet, and includes smart classrooms, student gathering spaces and several labs equipped with teaching tools specific for health careers programs. The Health Careers Center for Excellence opened in August 2008.