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Chancellor Juan Salgado Announces New Initiative to Help Students Graduate with Work-Based Learning Experience

6/21/2018 3:00 PM

City Colleges will help ensure more than 50 percent of graduates participate in work-based learning opportunities, and continue engaging Chicago’s business and civic communities to impact more than 4,000 students a year

At the City Club of Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado announced a commitment to ensure more than half of the graduates participate in work-based learning opportunities. With the support of Chicago’s business and civic community, City Colleges students enrolled in degree, certificate and boot camp programs will gain tangible experience. This initiative is expected to reach more than 4,000 students annually.   

“City Colleges of Chicago students are gaining the critical skills necessary to compete and win in the 21st century, and it is our job to support their entry into the workforce,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “When we help open the doors of opportunity and provide our students with the resources and guidance they need to succeed, there is no limit to what they can accomplish."

Work-based learning opportunities include apprenticeships, internships, earn and learn experiences and other work-based learning models that offer students the chance to build on the job work experience, develop a professional network, and demonstrate technical and soft skills. These opportunities also help students build the skills and capital they need to complete their course of study, especially when they are paid opportunities, which will be the priority of City Colleges’ efforts.  

“We must offer students the opportunity to contribute to, and build wealth from, our economy as soon as they are ready – and they are ready now,” said Chancellor Salgado.  “Our students prove they will rise to the challenges we set before them, and we must too. The path to a more economically inclusive city runs through quality, relevant programs and work-based learning." 

Over the next three months, City Colleges will convene employer and civic partners to develop a comprehensive plan towards this goal. In reaching the goal, City Colleges expects to increase work-based learning tied directly to a City Colleges academic program by five times. Employers offering these opportunities build their talent pipeline with quality, eager home-grown Chicago talent. 

This goal builds on the work-based learning opportunities that students are already participating in, including apprenticeship programs with Aon and Accenture.  Aon has hired 41 City Colleges students as paid apprentices, and Accenture has built off its successful internship program with City Colleges to offer 27 City Colleges students apprenticeships for the upcoming school year.  With these hires, City Colleges will be the number one source of entry-level talent for Accenture in Chicago. City Colleges is also working with Rush University Medical Center to start an apprenticeship program focusing on IT, finance, logistics and food service.  

Aon, Accenture and Rush have launched the Chicago Apprenticeship Network, and challenged themselves and the business community to grow to 1,000 apprenticeships in the next five years.  

The recent Council on Foreign Relations report, The Work Ahead, called for a new U.S. workforce model in which employers help to develop the pipeline of talent they need by working with community colleges and each other to create work-based learning opportunities, extending beyond the traditional fields such as healthcare and education.   

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