Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivered a speech at the winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors on January 20, where he outlined his vision to modernize Chicago's City Colleges by creating partnerships with specific industries to focus on training that addresses the country’s skills gap, and urged other mayors to do the same.
“If we modernize our training programs to match the needs of our high-growth industries, our community college system can catapult millions of people into employment and into the middle class, as it has done for generations of Americans,” Mayor Emanuel said to conference attendees. “There is no greater investment we can make in the life of our cities than the one we make in the lives of our students.”
The partnerships at Chicago City Colleges will initially focus on two fields: healthcare and transportation, distribution and logistics. Over time, partnerships will grow to include programs in other high-demand sectors. The first schools and companies that have forged these partnerships are Malcolm X College and Olive Harvey College.
Malcolm X College will work with Rush Medical Center, Stroger and Northwestern Hospitals, Advocate Healthcare, Baxter, Walgreens and Allscripts to develop their curriculum, train faculty, and drive Chicago’s leadership in the healthcare sciences.
Olive Harvey College will focus on transportation, distribution, and logistics. They will work with UPS, Canadian National Railway, AAR, BNSF, and Chicago-based Coyote Logistics, the fastest growing logistics company in America.
This innovative approach will help address the skills gap facing companies nation-wide and keep Chicago's workforce competitive.
“Every year, we will modernize two new schools and match them with partners in the private sector, to train the workers for our factories, for our offices, for our hospitals, for our hotel industry and for our infrastructure,” said Mayor Emanuel.