Mayor Emanuel today delivered the keynote speech at the World Bank’s Learning Symposium where he highlighted Chicago’s innovative College to Careers program. The program is part of the City’s workforce and economic development strategy and is designed to provide students with an education that will prepare them for jobs in high-growth industries.
“College to Careers is an innovative program that is ensuring our students are being trained for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By working directly with the private sector and providing cutting edge training and education to our students, we are preparing our graduates for the workforce and creating economic opportunity around the city.”
Despite an almost 10% unemployment rate, many local employers cannot find the workers to grow their businesses, indicating a mismatch between the skills being taught in our classrooms and those employers need. Research conducted by City Colleges of Chicago identified six industries where 80% of the new jobs would come from in the Chicagoland region over the next decade. The six fields, projected to create approximately 500,000 job openings between now and 2022, include: healthcare, transportation/distribution/logistics (TDL), business and professional services, information technology (IT), advanced manufacturing, and culinary/hospitality. The community college system provides a quality, affordable means of preparing Chicagoans to seize these employment opportunities.
After evaluating labor market projections and current occupational program offerings, City Colleges is redesigning its offerings from the ground up to implement a comprehensive strategy for meeting the needs of key regional employers. The occupational programs at six of the seven City Colleges emphasize one of the six fastest-growing industries, and are developed through robust partnerships with more than 100 companies and nonprofits, both local and international, that are active in the region.
The World Bank has been studying College to Careers and has issued the following report on how it can be replicated around the country and world. The report is accessible here: http://bit.ly/1793VMl
In the speech, the Mayor discussed how the quality of education is directly correlated with Chicago’s growth, as well as the role of the private sector in creating a bridge between students and in-demand jobs at their companies. The Mayor also discussed how one of the cornerstones of College to Career program has been partnerships with local companies to help create curriculum that align with national standards and allow students to move easily between the workplace and the classroom to advance their career.