In just four years, 47 percent of all Chicago-area jobs are projected to require an associate degree or higher, according to the National Equity Atlas. A Chicago Tribune analysis observed that Chicago high school students and young adults are ill-prepared for the job market.
Chicago’s future hinges on retooling schools for the digital age, the article said, and heralded National Louis University, along with a handful of high schools and community colleges, for “efforts to link education to the increasingly digital work world.”
Employers are struggling to find employees with the increasingly complex skills they need, the article observed. It quoted an expert saying that the Chicago region’s economy has completely changed from the days when a high school dropout could land a decent job, and schools are just beginning to catch up to the reality of this new economic and employment landscape.
National Louis’ Harrison Professional Pathways program gives about 75 undergraduates a $10,000 annual tuition (which can be further reduced by grants) and opportunities to blend classwork with real-world job experience in the fields of business, education, human services, criminal justice, health care and communications, the article said.
Aarti Dhupelia, NLU’s director of strategic initiatives, is quoted, discussing the challenge of enlisting employers in school-to-career pathway programs.
To see the related story,”Career-oriented educational programs sprout in Chicago area but scale small,” which discusses NLU, click here.
The stories are part of the Tribune’s Global City Chicago series, which examine’s Chicago’s ties to the world on economic, demographic, cultural and other fronts.