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Chicago Wins National Grant to Build High-Quality Youth Apprenticeships

04 June 2019

Collaboration Between Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago Awarded $300,000 to Connect Young People to Career Training Opportunities

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

CHICAGO - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado announced today that Career Launch Chicago, a new collaborative initiative between CPS, CCC and the City of Chicago, has received $300,000 in grants from national and local philanthropy to expand apprenticeship opportunities for Chicago’s young people. Career Launch Chicago will focus on creating work-based-learning opportunities for Chicago Public Schools students that will connect them to college pathways and careers in the areas of information technology, manufacturing and healthcare.

“This new initiative is a prime example of how strong partnerships between CPS and City Colleges help ensure that every student leaves high school on a positive career trajectory,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “High-quality apprenticeships that give students rigorous academics, relevant work opportunities and mentorships are truly career launching experiences, and the confidence shown by both our funding partners and national experts is a testament to the collaborative success of Chicago's educational, business, civic and philanthropic communities.”

Selected from a highly competitive pool of over 220 applicants from 49 states and Puerto Rico, Career Launch Chicago was one of nine groups across the country to receive $150,000 from the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA), an initiative of the non-profit New America. The initiative was also awarded a $150,000 match from Apprenticeship 2020, a collaboration of philanthropies including JPMorgan Chase, Pritzker Traubert Foundation,, the Joyce Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, and the Chicagoland Workforce Funders Alliance.

The grant funding will support the design and launch of a youth apprenticeship system across CPS and CCC, including the staffing, course sequence design, employer partnerships and data systems for program management. In addition to the funds, PAYA will provide tailored technical assistance from PAYA’s National Partners, cross-site learning, and opportunities to participate in national research, communications, and storytelling efforts.

Career Launch Chicago will also now join the newly formed PAYA Network, a learning community designed to link dynamic partnerships working to launch, expand, and improve apprenticeship opportunities for high school-aged youth.

“This critical partnership will increase access and opportunities for our students to lay the foundation for a successful future through in-demand industries,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “We’re thrilled to work hand-in-hand with City entities and the philanthropic and business communities to expand these critical opportunities for Chicago’s youth.”

The partnership will involve leadership from the greater Chicago workforce community, including City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, the Mayor’s Office, Chicago Apprenticeship Network, Apprenticeship 2020, Education Systems Center, MxD, and Thrive Chicago.

“Many of Chicago’s young people need to work while going to school, and apprenticeships allow us to offer opportunities that align with our students’ career interests, and build their skills and professional networks in growing fields,” said Chancellor Juan Salgado, who set an ambitious goal of half of City Colleges graduates experiencing a work-based learning opportunities during or immediately following completion of their program.

Apprenticeships typically combine classroom learning, paid on-the-job training, mentorship, and the opportunity to convert to full-time employment upon successful completion of the program. Participants of Career Launch Chicago will also be able to earn college credits through City Colleges while still in high school.

“JPMorgan Chase is investing in apprenticeships across America and in Chicago in particular as part of its $40 million commitment to creating economic opportunity for residents of the South and West sides,” said Whitney Smith, Head of Midwest Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud to have joined forces with other foundations to create Apprenticeship 2020 and other corporations as members of the Chicago Apprentice Network to continue growing apprenticeships in the city and look forward to seeing Career Launch Chicago help young people build the skills they need for in-demand career opportunities.”

Aon, Accenture, JPMorgan Chase, McDonald's, Walgreens and Rush University Medical Center have each been developing or growing apprenticeships programs for City Colleges of Chicago students. Aon has employed 60 apprentices over three classes starting in January 2017. The Accenture Technology Apprenticeship launched in June 2016 and today Accenture expects that City Colleges will soon be the largest source of entry-level talent in its Midwest office.

The PAYA grant is supported by the Ballmer Group, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Siemens Foundation.

Chicago Public Schools serves 361,000 students in 644 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


About the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA): Created by New America, the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) is a multi-year, multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to assist innovative organizations around the country in developing robust youth apprenticeship programs that are scaled and replicated to serve students, employers, and communities alike. PAYA is comprised of eight National Partner organizations: Advance CTE, CareerWise Colorado, Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeship, Education Strategy Group, JFF, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and the National Governors Association. PAYA is supported by funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ballmer Group, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Joyce Foundation, JP Morgan Chase & Co., and the Siemens Foundation. Learn more at

About New America: New America is dedicated to renewing America by continuing the quest to realize our nation's highest ideals, honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change, and seizing the opportunities those changes create.