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Mayor Lightfoot, CPS, City Colleges of Chicago Announce First Round of Career Launch Chicago Partners

10/8/2019 12:00 AM

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) announced today that Career Launch Chicago, a new collaborative initiative between CPS, CCC, the City of Chicago, and business, has secured its first round of partners committed to creating youth apprenticeship opportunities for young Chicagoans. Career Launch Chicago is focused on creating work-based-learning opportunities for CPS students that will connect them to college pathways and careers in the areas of information technology, manufacturing and healthcare.

“Career Launch Chicago will bring together CPS, CCC and some of our city’s leading businesses and institutions to build a more equitable and dynamic economy by creating apprenticeships, which will allow our young people to take college courses in high school, continue to earn a record-level of college credentials, and get paid to build experience in a field their passionate about,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “To prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, I challenge businesses in every industry to participate in programs like this one and build an unparalleled talent pipeline.”

Starting in 2020, Career Launch Chicago will recruit students for a pilot cohort of 50 apprentices, with a goal of growing the initiative to 1,000 apprentices by 2024. Career Launch Chicago has several partners already committed to building the model, including the following high schools, colleges and industry leaders: 

  • Austin College and Career Academy
  • Bowen High School
  • Charles Allen Prosser Career Academy
  • Chicago Vocational Career Academy
  • Englewood STEM High School
  • Eric Solorio Academy High School
  • Gage Park High School
  • George Westinghouse College Prep
  • Lake View High School
  • Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School
  • North-Grand High School
  • Richard T Crane Medical Preparatory High School
  • Roger C Sullivan High School
  • Theodore Roosevelt High School
  • Richard J. Daley College
  • Malcolm X College
  • Wilbur Wright College
  • Harold Washington College
  • Chicago Apprentice Network
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • MxD
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • Sinai Health System

“Career Launch Chicago is a natural extension of Fifth Third Bank’s commitment to build financial stability in the communities we serve.  While formal education is vitally important for young people to successfully participate in the 21st century economy, experiential learning like what Career Launch Chicago is providing is so important.  We appreciate that the high quality, work-based learning opportunities the young people will experience through this program will help prepare them for the jobs of today and of tomorrow,” said Nicole Johnson-Scales, Senior Vice President, Community and Economic Development, Fifth Third Bank.  


Unique to this apprenticeship model will be the engagement of employers who commit to creating paid on-the-job training opportunities for apprentices in order to help meet their talent needs. Employers interested in joining Career Launch Chicago can contact 


“Career Launch Chicago is an exemplary model of how career and technical education can benefit students, teachers, employers, and our overall economy,” said Congressman Krishnamoorthi. “Last year, my legislation, The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, was signed into law to reform our entire CTE system. Specifically, the law encourages the creation of more partnerships between employers, schools, and workforce experts to better prepare students for high-paying, in-demand jobs. Career Launch Chicago is one of the first new and robust programs to be implemented and I want to applaud Mayor Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools, the City Colleges of Chicago, and the many education and industry leaders who are participating in this groundbreaking partnership.” 


High-quality apprenticeships provide students with advanced learning; paid, relevant work opportunities and mentors that can accelerate their chosen path without having to choose between college and career. Apprentices through Career Launch Chicago will engage in classroom learning, paid on-the-job training, mentorship, and the opportunity to transfer to full-time employment upon successful completion of the program. Career Launch Chicago apprentices will earn college credits through City Colleges of Chicago while still in high school. 


“Career Launch Chicago students will gain the exposure and connections to break into high demand career fields they might otherwise have overlooked, and ultimately help ensure a more inclusive Chicago economy,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado. 


Mayor Lightfoot’s administration is committed to strengthening career and technical education (CTE) programming for Chicago’s youth. Earlier this summer, to support more high school students in achieving college and career success, Mayor Lightfoot and Dr. Jackson announced that, by 2023, all CTE students in CPS will receive some form of career exposure experience by the time they graduate, such as a job shadow, mock interview, or career site visit. CPS will also expand employer partnerships to ensure half of all eligible CTE students are matched with a career development experience, like an internship or apprenticeship, by 2023. 


“Expanding access to meaningful apprenticeships and career-readiness support will help prepare more high school students from across the city for the jobs of tomorrow,” said CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya D. McDade. “Continuing to create opportunities for our students with industry leaders across Chicago through the Career Launch Chicago initiative exemplifies the district’s vision of ensuring every student is prepared to succeed after they graduate.” 


Career Launch Chicago is a member of, and receives financial support from, the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) Network – a learning community designed to link dynamic partnerships that work to launch, expand and improve apprenticeship opportunities for high school-aged youth. Career Launch Chicago receives additional financial and technical support from Apprenticeship2020, a Chicago-based collaborative of philanthropies set up to help grow apprenticeships in nontraditional fields. 


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