City Colleges to specialize in vocational training

December 13, 2011

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(Flickr/lorenzolamertino)
Some city colleges will focus on industries located nearby. Malcolm X College is by the UIC Medical District.

The City Colleges of Chicago will soon start focusing on vocational training with the help of local businesses. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the region needs more skilled workers in fields like healthcare, high-end manufacturing and hospitality.

"We have in the Chicagoland area, a little over 100,000 job openings and yet you have unemployment hovering around 10 percent. That is a mismatch," Emanuel said at a Monday press conference. 

Emanuel argued it's because the mission of community colleges hasn't been updated in decades. Starting in the fall of 2012, Malcom X College will start working with Allied Heath to tailor its curriculum toward health care. Olive Harvey College will train for transportation logistics with the help of AAR, a commercial aviation corporation. Emanuel said industries will work with teachers to develop lessons, and maybe even teach.

As for what will become of current teachers, City Colleges of Chicago's Chancellor Cheryl L. Hyman said they're expecting a need to hire even more teachers. She also said the colleges' other educational tracks and liberal arts offerings will remain in place.

The other five City Colleges are expected to follow suit, each pairing with businesses to focus on a different growing sector.