To help meet Chicago’s immediate need for hundreds of new taxi drivers, the City Colleges of Chicago and the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection announced that the public chauffeur licensing program will move from Harold Washington College to Olive-Harvey College. The move allows for the enactment of comprehensive taxi safety and training reforms announced by Mayor Emanuel in December 2011, which incorporated input from taxi companies, drivers, independent owner-operators and aldermen.
With driving simulation technology, a road course and expanded class room space, the revised program will offer enhanced behind-the-wheel training, customer service skills, and will leverage Olive-Harvey College’s educational resources in the areas of transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL) as part of the College to Careers initiative.
“As a result of these program improvements, Chicago taxi drivers will be better prepared to build thriving independent businesses and Chicago motorists, passengers and pedestrians will find themselves navigating safer city streets,” said Paula Wolff, chair, City Colleges Board of Trustees.
“Olive-Harvey’s unique assets will help ensure that Chicago’s taxi drivers hit the road safely with strong customer service skills, geographical knowledge and increased small business experience,” says Cheryl Hyman, chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago. “This is part of City Colleges’ mission: to offer relevant education and skills training that drives Chicago’s economic growth.”
Timed to the start of a new two-week program session in early June, the move will allow the program to better meet the city’s need for new taxi drivers, with the goal of increasing the number of certified drivers by 50%. Currently, Harold Washington College produces up to 1,000 certified drivers each year.
No current students will be affected by the move, and current program instructors will move from Harold Washington College to Olive-Harvey College. City Colleges plans to add instructors to meet growing student demand.
City Colleges also will launch a shuttle service between the Olive-Harvey campus and the 95th Street Chicago Transit Authority bus and train hub to provide all students quick and easy access to the school from public transportation. Former City Colleges students who successfully completed the Commercial Driver Training program at Olive-Harvey will be considered for employment as shuttle drivers.
In March, Chancellor Hyman, Mayor Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn announced the construction of a new transportation, distribution and logistics center at Olive-Harvey College as part of City Colleges’ College to Careers initiative. The facility will be the first comprehensive TDL education center in the state, preparing students for an estimated 110,000 jobs over the next 10 years in the growing ground, air and rail transport, multi-modal distribution and logistics fields.