Chicago’s city colleges will work closely with employers to train students for high-demand jobs, said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a speech to the Economic Club.
We need skilled workers to rebuild our infrastructure, we need them to care for the sick; we need them to welcome the millions who visit Chicago each year in our hospitality industry; we need them to make the products people want to buy and to write the code that powers new technologies. But employers can’t find skilled workers and workers can’t find jobs. Like the rest of the country, Chicago has a skills gap,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By making a diploma from our community colleges into a ticket to the workforce, we will make them a first option for job training and not a last resort.”
College To Careers will start with health care and transportation. Malcom X College will partner with neighboring hospitals and health care companies to train allied health-care workers and nurses. Olive-Harvey College will provide training in transportation, distribution and logistics, working with UPS, AAR, Chicago Transit Authority, Canadian National Railway and BNSF Railway.
Computer technology, business services and hospitality partnerships are expected to be next.
The mayor will ask industry experts to help develop the curricula and teach classes to provide “real-world perspective.” In addition, employers are expected to help students access training facilities, internships, job interviews and earn industry certification.
Despite 10 percent unemployment, there are 100,000 unfilled jobs in Chicago in health care and other field, the mayor told CBS News.
“The community college system is an untapped educational resource for us,” Emanuel said Monday morning. “We’re going to convert the community college system to a skills-based education, taking the six most promising growth fields for the city of Chicago and train for that. So no employer – in a time of a recession or in a time of expansion – will ever again be looking for employees with skills.”
Despite Emanuel’s talk of converting the college system to skills-based education, Chicago’s city colleges will continue to offer academic classes.