News Release

Mayor Emanuel Announces New Partnership with Five Technology Companies to Create New Early College Schools

CPS, CCC and Industry Leaders Develop Early College STEM Schools Model to Encourage Technology Careers as Recommended by IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Report
Feb 28, 2012

​CHICAGO, Feb 28, 2012 - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students will have the opportunity to attend five Early College STEM Schools (ECSS) that focus on technology skills and career readiness as well as earn college credits under a partnership agreement with five technology companies, CPS and City Colleges of Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today.

These schools will focus on skills graduates need in the modern workforce and Information Technology industry. Students will also have the option to earn college credits and complete a six-year program with an associates degree, said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Thanks to the involvement and commitment of our corporate partners, we continue to invest in our schools to equip our students with the skills they need for a successful future.

The five technology companies, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft Corporation, Motorola Solutions and Verizon Wireless, will help develop a unique curriculum at each new school to teach students the skills required in that marketplace, as well as provide mentors and internships. Upon graduating from these tailored programs, the students will be prepared for careers in science and technology.

Mayor Emanuel was joined by Stanley Litow, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs at IBM; Wim Elfrink, Executive Vice President, Emerging Solutions Group and Chief Globalisation Officer at Cisco; Sig Behrens, General Manager, U.S. Education at Microsoft Corp.; Greg Brown, Chairman and CEO at Motorola Solutions; Andy Brady, Director, Business Sales at Verizon Wireless, as well as CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, one of the schools that will offer the new STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) program.

High quality education is key to economic growth across all U.S. cities, said Stanley S. Litow, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs at IBM. Chicago will build on the success of P-TECH, the nation's first 9-14 school based in New York City by bringing this model to scale. P-TECH already has seen tremendous academic results, and we are committed to working with the City of Chicago to spread this new innovative public/private partnership equipping students with the 21st century skills to be successful.

Preparing the next-generation of students for the workforce is a critical responsibility. Without skills in science, engineering, math and technology, innovation cannot advance at the rate needed to sustain the economic growth we are all working to foster, said Wim Elfrink, executive vice president, Emerging Solutions Group and Chief Globalisation Officer, Cisco. Cisco is proud to be a partner in this initiative and contribute curriculum and skills in networking and technology education that will help today's students become tomorrow's innovators.

"Student success is core to our mission in education. We believe that continued investment in STEM education is the driver for creating a skilled workforce that will grow and sustain our national economy. By bringing proven Microsoft technology programs, training and curriculum to classrooms, we will help ensure Chicago's students are career and college ready," said Sig Behrens, General Manager, U.S. Education, Microsoft Corp. "Through Microsoft IT Academy and CareerForward, students will be able to gain the skills and certifications employers are looking for and connect learning to the real-world. Our Partners in Learning program will also provide teachers with professional development and training to better integrate technology in the classroom."

As a company of engineers, we have a first-hand understanding of the value of an education in science and technology, and are thrilled to partner with Chicago Public Schools to help develop the pipeline of technology leaders, said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions. From our commitment to employment in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, to our support of education through the Motorola Solutions Foundations STEM funding, we appreciate the opportunity to support our neighbors.

This new partnership with Chicago Public Schools fits perfectly with the priorities of Verizon. We are committed to share our success with our community and there is no better place to demonstrate that than through education, said Andy Brady, Director, Business Sales, Verizon Wireless. By integrating mobile technology and digital content (in and outside the classroom) we will increase student achievement, thereby enabling students to better prepare for their future.

The five lead partners will share industry specific expertise to the unique curricular development of their respective schools. CPS and CCC will also take advantage of recommendations from a new playbook created by IBM showing other cities how to adopt a new education model blending high school, college and career. The manual is the result of a three-month IBM Smarter Cites Challenge grant awarded to the City of Chicago. It outlines specifics such as designing a curriculum, creating an integrated college experience, and building a strong teaching faculty.

The five schools are located in diverse communities and were selected in part due to interest from school leadership in offering STEM education programming.

The neighborhood high schools offering these programs include Lake View High School, (4015 N. Ashland), Corliss High School (821 E. 103rd Street), and the new southwest area high school being built at 7651 S. Homan. Michele Clark High School (5101 W. Harrison Street) and Chicago Vocational Career Academy (2100 East 87th Street) will also offer the programs and are available to students city-wide. An ECSS is located in each of the five high school networks, providing access to every student in Chicago.

All of the new schools will open in September 2012 with a class of ninth graders. Each student will be able to graduate in four-years with a high school diploma with college credits, with a goal of graduating within six years with an Associate of Science (AS) degree in Computer Science or an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Information Technology. The college courses will be taught by professors from CCC.

CCC is the first college partner for these programs, but as the program expands, CPS officials hope to attract additional four-year colleges and universities for dual-credit and dual-enrollment.

The City Colleges system also has unique relationships with Chicago-area colleges, including:

The Presidential Scholarship at Illinois Institute of Technology offers qualifying CCC transfer students substantial financial support, including an annual tuition scholarship award up to $23,500, renewable for up to three years, as well as a $5000 housing scholarship award to support on-campus residence at the university. Students who do not qualify for the Presidential Scholarship will automatically be considered for a Transfer Scholarship up to $9,000, a Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship of $5,000 annually and a $1,500 on-campus housing scholarship.

The DePaul Admissions Partnership Program [DAPP] with DePaul University offers CCC students access to DePaul counselors who can provide guidance on class selection and majors while they are still enrolled at City Colleges of Chicago. DAPP guarantees that students bachelor's degree-completion requirements will not change for three years after joining the program.

The Guaranteed Admissions Transfer [GAT] program with the University of Illinois Chicago allows CCC students to apply for guaranteed admission to UIC as early as their second semester at the community college level. Currently, 52 CCC students are on track to transfer to UIC in Fall 2012, and 65 students have applied for the 2013 GAT program.

The Lewis University Aviation Academy at Chicago is a partnership between Lewis University, CCC and the City of Chicago to offer Bachelors Degrees in Air Traffic Control Management and Aviation Administration. All courses required for the degree programs are offered in the evenings at De La Salle Institute. Admitted students receive a $10,000 scholarship.

CCC already has agreements established for CCC graduates with the following universities to grant junior standing for transfer students in good standing:

  • Dominican University
  • University of Illinois at Springfield
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale Governors State University

By working with these corporate partners and the City Colleges, we will be able to provide our students with a rich and unique curriculum and opportunity to obtain real world skills while still in high school, said J.C. Brizard, CEO of Chicago Public Schools. "This kind of innovative collaboration will help prepare our children for college and career.

We are pleased to work with CPS and the corporate partners to prepare students to obtain an associate's degree in high-demand fields, said Cheryl Hyman, Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago. "We believe that the new model will help greater numbers of young people obtain post-secondary degrees that will lead to meaningful careers."

In addition, each school will solicit auxiliary partners to offer tutoring and college guidance to ensure high graduation and college completion rates. Each school will receive technology infrastructure to support the program as well as targeted professional development.

In order to learn more about these schools, please visit: