CHICAGO--Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States, joined Chancellor Cheryl Hyman of the City Colleges of Chicago today for a roundtable discussion on the institution’s College to Careers initiative. Launched by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in December 2011, College to Careers aims to equip City Colleges students with industry-recognized credentials that prepare them to secure jobs in high-growth sectors.
City Colleges of Chicago staff, industry partners participating in City College’s College to Careers initiative, and recently hired City Colleges graduates explored the progress made during the program’s first six months. Dr. Jill Biden, who has been a community college teacher for 18 years, visited Chicago as part of a national “Community College to Career” tour to learn more about successful workforce partnerships between community colleges and employers.
"Partnerships between community colleges and industry are essential to building the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world," Dr. Biden said. "I was pleased to learn more about the successful partnerships that are happening with City Colleges of Chicago."
“Community colleges are uniquely positioned to help fill America’s skills gap and serve as economic engines of their communities,” said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. “At City Colleges of Chicago, we are working with industry leaders to align our programs with the demands of the marketplace and provide Chicagoans with a clear path to the careers of today and tomorrow.”
At the commencement of College to Careers, City Colleges of Chicago research found that 80% of the new jobs in the region would be in one of six industry areas and has been working to bolster related occupation programs, starting with healthcare at Malcolm X College and transportation, distribution, and logistics at Olive-Harvey College. Others programs will formally be launched later in 2012.
As part of the College to Careers program, partner businesses are working directly with City Colleges faculty and staff to revamp the curriculum, design new facilities, provide internships and give students the opportunity to interview for jobs in high-demand fields. City Colleges has announced it will construct a $251 million new campus for Malcolm X College, including a healthcare academy, and a $42 million Transportation, Distribution and Logistics facility at Olive-Harvey College.
Tuesday’s discussion was held inside Coyote Logistics, 2545 W. Diversey, a rapidly expanding third party logistics company headquartered in Chicago, which has partnered with City Colleges to provide curriculum development support for Olive-Harvey College’s new Transportation, Distribution and Logistics career focus.
“In our role as intermediary between companies needing to ship products across North America and carriers with the capacity to move those goods safely and efficiently, Coyote understands the career opportunities across the logistics industry. We are committed to working with the City to create a strong, rigorous, training and education platform that will provide City Colleges graduates with a competitive edge as they enter the workforce across the entire industry,” said Jeff Silver, CEO, Coyote Logistics.
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, another panelist in the discussion, recently hired 40 City Colleges graduates who begin work on June 25th. City Colleges has also been working in close partnership with manufacturers such as Solo Cup to inform curricula at Daley College.
“I would likely not have gotten my new job at Allscripts were it not for City Colleges industry relationships,” said Michelle Miller, a recent graduate of Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. “City Colleges staff invited me to interview and prepared me to succeed with resume workshops, mock interviews and info sessions. I love working with people and using technology, and Allscripts is a company where I hope to make a career. I can’t wait to get started next week.”
City Colleges’ College to Career program mirrors many of the goals of President Obama’s new $8 billion Community College to Career Fund, co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education, which aims to forge new partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train two million workers with skills that will lead directly to jobs.
City Colleges is the largest community college in Illinois, with seven colleges across Chicago and 120,000 students annually. CCC prepares students to move directly into the workforce or to pursue further education. For more information on City Colleges of Chicago’s College to Careers program please visit:www.ccc.edu.