One of the nation's largest city college systems has launched visionary new curricula, in addition to a $525-million construction program to support its efforts. In addition to existing occupational course work, six of City Colleges of Chicago's seven campuses have begun focusing on curricula specific to high-growth industries, including health care, manufacturing and transportation, a tact intended to boost graduation rates and the probability of graduates securing employment.  


To support the program, City Colleges of Chicago in 2013 broke ground on:

Malcolm X. College School of Health – a $251-million, campus-like facility for which 12.6 percent of 950 construction jobs have been earmarked for community residents. (The majority of city colleges are located in moderate- to low-income neighborhoods, many of them home to minorities.) To meet its goal, City Colleges has launched a training program at its Dawson Technical Institute, a facility that targets careers in construction by providing training in bricklaying, concrete masonry, welding, carpentry, construction management, among other disciplines.

Architect of record on the project is Columbus, Ohio-based Moody Nolan, the nation's largest African-American design firm. When completed Malcolm X will accommodate up to 20,000 students and include a virtual hospital, skill and simulations labs, sports science and occupational programs, more than 25,000 square-feet of study and activity space and a new conference facility with capacity for 1,300.

Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Center, a $42-million adjunct City Colleges' Olive-Harvey College, the campus focused on careers in transportation. When completed, the center will house automotive and diesel engine laboratories, simulated driving facilities, a testing center, vehicle bays and a dynamometer that measures the power output of an engine.

Because the two facilities mark a new day for a system that serves tens of thousand of students; are designed and programmed to stimulate career development and job growth; and provide low-income residents with the training and skills to participate in their construction, ENR Midwest has named their operator, City Colleges of Chicago, as the region's Owner of the Year.

You can read more about City Colleges and their construction program in the March 24 edition of ENR Midwest, which also will feature the region's top project starts for 2013, as measured by their construction costs.