demand-driven, sector-focused work readiness
At ChiCAT, unemployed, underemployed or transitional adults will receive industry demand-driven and sector-focused career training that leads to employment, a living wage and opportunities for advancement.
arts-enabled academic outcomes
ChiCAT’s classes and instruction in digital arts and design will support creativity, community building, and various pathways to employment. ChiCAT will be faithful to a model dependent on small teacher-to-student ratios, instructors who are practicing professionals, experience-based and human-centered design and learning, and celebration of student accomplishments.
ART + tECHNOLOGY = A SOLUTION
Play the video below to hear from Bill Strickland speak about the philosophy ChiCAT will follow.
art + technology = choices
Chicago Center for Arts & Technology is seeking $12 million from a diverse and diversified base of supporters to furnish the facility, fund immediate and ongoing programmatic and operating expenses, and begin serving students by early 2017.
employer-ready ADULT LEARNERS
While the Chicago area currently hosts 23 community colleges and over 85 workforce providers with a variety of training opportunities for adults, much of the existing infrastructure does not align with industry demand for occupation-specific skill development.
Our adult curricula have been selected because employer demand for these occupations is high, they provide a living wage, and they are well matched to ChiCAT’s targeted group of lower-skilled individuals with limited work history.
ChiCAT has assembled a network of partners who will come together as a group regularly to review and inform ChiCAT curricula, provide resources to ChiCAT (space, technology, expertise, etc.), and aid ChiCAT in expanding its already impressive network of supporters and advisors.
strategic partners (as of august 2016)
- Allied Health Care Network (AHCN)
- Chicago Cook Workforce Partnerships
- Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC)
- Delta Institute
- Illinois Medical District
A subset of these ChiCAT partners additionally commit to hire ChiCAT graduates and provide feedback on ChiCAT students' performance in their organizations. ChiCAT has already secured commitments from six such employers, with several more to be announced soon.
Employment Partners (as of August 2016)
- Mercy Hospital & Medical Center Chicago
- Newly Weds Foods
- Rush University Medical Center
- Saint Anthony Hospital
- Sinai Health System
- UIC Circle Square
ChiCAT will focus on transforming people and communities, directly addressing participants' skill and employment gaps. ChiCAT participants will work to transform themselves from unemployed jobseekers to tax-paying citizens.
The wages listed alongside the programs detailed below will increase upon increases in the mandated minimum wage.
MEDICAL ASSISTING, billing and coding: approx $1.4 million
Health care remains a growing sector. Cook County's public/private health care system continues to have intense need for medical assistants and those trained in medical billing and coding. As an institutional partner in the Illinois Medical District, ChiCAT will facilitate critical synergy between anchor demand and supply. Average starting wages for trained medical assistants, billers and coders are $33,000 to $36,000.
MAINTENANCE MECHANICS (mechatronics): approx $1.8 million
Mechatronics is a future-oriented discipline and skill and the occupation with the highest demand in the advanced manufacturing sector in the region. Successful mechatronics training and placement will transform the workforce development system in Illinois and across the country. Average starting wages for trained maintenance mechanics are $45,000 to $50,000.
FOOD MANUFACTURING LAB tech AND QUALITY CONTROL: approx $1.1 million
ChiCAT will satisfy a wide gap between needed skills and a well-trained work force for these high-demand occupations in the advanced manufacturing food cluster. Average starting wages for food manufacturing lab technologists and quality control technicians are $35,000 to $37,000.
customizing educational support
ChiCAT will work with school counselors to receive one-on-one recommendations for youth participants. By partnering with individual schools, ChiCAT will establish rapport with staff and faculty, win students' trust to participate, and share data to measure outcomes including grade progression.
prioritizing social/emotional learning
ChiCAT will make social/emotional learning (SEL) a high priority within its youth curricula to support academic and career success. Moreover, according to CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning), quality SEL instruction can lead to:
- improved attitudes and behaviors
- improved emotional well-being
- better academic performance
youth digital studio: approx $1.1 million
Our Digital Arts Studio will help youth to develop a personal mastery in working with computer technology for developing and enhancing music, art, videos, and photographs. Classes in this Studio explore digital photography, video production and editing, web-based animation, website design, graphic design, and music editing and production. For these young participants, the Digital Arts Studio will be a gateway to new environments, cultures, and experiences.
youth design studio: approx $1.1 million
The Design Arts Studio will expand a student’s ability to appreciate processes, enhance their creativity and provide a valuable opportunity to showcase personal successes. Students will explore various media including drawing, painting, textiles and printmaking. In addition, students will develop their ability to express themselves, both artistically and verbally.
tech suite: approx $400,000
ChiCAT's Tech Suite will be anchored by 3D printers within a maker lab. A high-tech, creative environment geared to the future of our regional and national economy, the Tech Suite will provide space for youth to design, create and advance transformational ideas and expand human possibility.
multi-use performance SPACE: approx $1.1 million
An earned revenue generator through rental fees, ChiCAT's performance space will be a home for programming ranging from performances by supreme young jazz artists to a discussion series on futurist thinking and predictions (e.g., the future of work in the age of robotics and globalization, ethics in the age of cloning and nanotechnology). The space will also provide a charming and inviting area for students, staff and visitors to break bread and foster a shared desire for communal gatherings.
applying what we've learned nationally
Among many programmatic and facility design lessons, Manchester Bidwell and CATs nationally have demonstrated and shared important guidance for ChiCAT's application. We learned that owning our own building is an important first step, and we have crossed that milestone. We also know we must build financial and organizational strength and sustainability before we launch.
five-year sustainabily fund: approx $4 million
Unlike most other start-up organizations, ChiCAT will start strong. Thanks to the pedigree lent by other CATs, its long gestation period with community leaders, and its visionary early donors, ChiCAT will possess many physical, financial and leadership assets normally found only in a much more mature organization. The importance of building a financial reserve from day one cannot be underestimated: in the current environment dominated by the State of Illinois budget crisis and shifting philanthropic priorities from funders, most nonprofits without a reserve are having to curtail programs and lay off staff with some even closing their doors.