Mayor Richard M. Daley today gave the new leadership team in charge of Chicago City Colleges a clear mission: "To reinvent the City College system from the ground up so that it better serves the needs of its students and our city in the 21st century."
At a news conference with Daley held at Olive-Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn Av., City Colleges’ new chancellor, Cheryl Hyman, and its new Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Gery Chico, announced their first budget, which totals $457.5 million and whose stated goal is "reinventing the City Colleges of Chicago to operate as one cohesive, integrated district."
"If Chicago is to have a strong economic future, we must have a strong and successful education system. We must also have a workforce that is skilled and ready for the jobs of tomorrow," Daley said.
"Toward these goals, we are transforming education at every level -- from our public schools to our workforce training programs to the City Colleges of Chicago -- with the goal of better coordinating all of our job training efforts," he said.
In March, Daley recommended the appointment of Hyman as Chancellor and Chico as board chair. The City Colleges’ Board of Trustees subsequently made those appointments.
"I challenged them to rethink City Colleges’ job training programs so that the system is graduating students who are prepared with the skills that are needed for 21st century jobs," Daley said.
"They have embraced these challenges and today we want to announce their proposed budget, including a series of management initiatives they are putting in place," he said.
Overall, Chico and Hyman said, the City Colleges’ FY 2011 will provide:
Chancellor Hyman is also recommending a $139 million capital budget focused on technology and infrastructure to support students, including "smart" classrooms, learning technologies, labs and student gathering places.
"We are proud to present this balanced budget and we are committed to initiatives that assure the highest levels of educational quality, efficiency and accountability within the City Colleges," Hyman said.
Daley said he believes that under the leadership of Hyman and Chico, City Colleges can turn into a world-class institution that not only prepares students to move on in higher education, but also ensures that they have the skills to make themselves employable.
"No institution in Chicago is better positioned to become the economic engine that prepares a skilled workforce," the Mayor said.
He said that the skyrocketing costs of a traditional college education have put many colleges and universities out of reach for many high school students.
"City Colleges are often the only option for those who want to be trained in the skills of tomorrow or to prepare to move on to a four-year college," Daley said.
"Turning around Chicago's City Colleges system won't happen in one or two years. But, with today's announcement, we're on the right path," he said.
Public hearings to accept comments on the proposed budget will be held:
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