Emanuel announces $479M for city colleges

February 21, 2012 2:49:23 PM PST
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will commit nearly a half-billion dollars to transform the City Colleges of Chicago. Some of the money will help build a new Malcolm X College.

Mayor Emanuel says Chicago is a mecca for graduates of universities all over the Midwest who come to the city looking for jobs. He says local students should have a shot at those jobs and announced a multi-million dollar plan to overhaul city colleges.

Nursing students at Malcolm X College are preparing to enter the health care industry, a field where jobs will be plentiful. An estimated 84,000 jobs will be available in the Chicago area over the next 10 years.

"It's not only that you work in a hospital. You can work in administration, dialysis. The field is wide open," said nursing student Jodesh Thizuvaalapil.

"As Baby Boomers are getting older, we're gonna need more health care, so nurses are gonna continue to be in demand," said instructor Leonard Gilbert.

And to meet that demand, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that a new Malcolm X College will be built just south of the United Center on the parking lot of the existing school. The $251 million college will focus on careers in the health care field.

"I cannot allow the kids from our city colleges to not have a chance at those 84,000 jobs in health care," said Emanuel.

The new facility is part of the mayor's College to Careers Initiative, a $479 million capital campaign to upgrade the city colleges with student support centers, labs and smart classrooms.

Each college will have a concentration in one of several fast-growing industries.

"City colleges' No. 1 priority is to provide our students with academic credentials of economic value that prepares them with relevant skills for the jobs of today," said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman.

The new Malcolm X College is scheduled to open in the spring of 2015. The mayor has already announced that Olive-Harvey College will become an institution focusing on transportation and logistics.

In coming years, other schools will focus on the hospitality industry, business and computer science.