On Monday Mayor Emanuel announced in a speech to the Economic Club of Chicago an allegedly innovative workforce program for the City Colleges of Chicago. Promoted by the CCC as part the Reinvention campaign, the "new" College to Careers program has already been questioned by Reader reporter Deanna Isaacs. In her latest blog Isaacs ponders whether this is old stuff with new make up. We should remember that earlier this year the CCC announced with much fanfare a Reinvention accomplishment, the CVS-owned pharmacy tech program, which in reality had existed for several years at Truman College. We say CVS-owned because the program is entirely run by CVS. The instructors are CVS employees and the 60-hour internship takes place at a CVS site.
In addition, Isaacs asks why should taxpayers and students subsidize the training for jobs that employers used to pay for in the past. Taking advantage of the desperation caused by the high unemployment rate, the logic for this new offering to the corporations was clearly spelled out on Monday by 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.” So once again, despite Chancellor Hyman's denials, the CCC continues to go down the route of job-training and not academic preparation. As Isaacs puts it, "you don't need to go to college to be a truck driver."
You can go to the original Reader post, but we reproduce it below for your convenience.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011
NewsCity (Vocational) Colleges of Chicago
Posted by Deanna Isaacs on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 1:04 PM
Under this plan, experts from "industry partners" will help design certificate programs and individual courses that they or other "industry experts" may also teach. In addition, they'll provide "access to internships, on-site training, and job interviews."
Actual jobs? No promises there, but Emanuel claims that by "2020 Chicago will need approximately 75,000 more health care practitioners." And between now and then we'll also need "4,000 new truck drivers," he says. Accordingly, the first two programs are a healthcare partnership at Malcolm X College, with partners like Rush and Stroger Hospitals, and a "transportation and logistics industry" partnership at Olive-Harvey College, with partners that include the CTA and UPS.
Of course, relationships with institutions like local hospitals aren't a brand-new idea: the colleges already had some of them. At best, "College to Careers" will expand and build on that. At worst, it'll transfer job training costs from industry to students and taxpayers, without any assurance of employment to follow. And you don't need to go to college to be a truck driver. Here's the Mayor'spress release and speech, and here's our story about the overall "Reinvention" under way at CCC.