City Colleges students to get discounted online nursing classes
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org August 21, 2012 1:50PM
City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman and Mayor Rahm Emanuel last September. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Updated: September 23, 2012 6:16AM
The University of Illinois at Chicago will reserve 50 openings a year in its online nursing program for City Colleges students and graduates to attend at half the cost of normal tuition, thanks to a mayoral program unveiled Tuesday.
The new wrinkle in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “College-to-Careers” makeover of Chicago’s seven city colleges will pave the way for students to earn a full bachelor’s of science degree in nursing while paying tuition for only 30 online credits at UIC.
That’s because UIC has agreed to grant qualified City Colleges students and graduates with associates degrees in nursing a total of 33 university-level credits at no cost.
Why limit the new nursing partnership to online courses?
Chancellor Cheryl Hyman said it’s because a lot of City Colleges students work full time while pursuing their degrees.
“A lot of students need that flexibility. The online program gives them that flexibility,” Hyman said.
“It is the exact same, high-quality program that they would get [if they were] in the classroom.”
Emanuel added, “A lot of the students . . . are working and they’re using the community colleges on a part-time basis, filling in gaps in their academic and skill base. Online [courses] are actually reminding us, we’re here for the students — wherever they may be in their age or in their career. By focusing on our students and their needs, we’re putting them first. That’s the priority so they can both work and get the skills they need to get the jobs they want.”
The massive City Colleges system in the midst of a makeover to prepare students for jobs in growth industries.
Malcolm X will focus on health care. Olive-Harvey will train students for careers in transportation and logistics. Other colleges will focus on aviation, information technology, hospitality and professional services.
Companies that specialize in those areas will help write the curriculum, teach and mentor students and, hopefully, place them in jobs when they graduate.
Emanuel has announced plans to build a new, $251 million Malcolm X College and 1,500-space parking garage in the shadows of the United Center to create a state-of-the-art facility to train students for careers in health care.
At a news conference Tuesday at the old Malcolm X, he noted that Chicago’s health-care industry is expected to create 84,000 new jobs over the next decade, 15,000 in nursing. A bachelor’s degree in nursing will be required for many of those jobs.
Two years ago, Hyman phased out nursing programs at two City Colleges to focus limited resources and guarantee that students graduate from nationally accredited programs they need to qualify for top jobs.
The surprise decision forced nursing students attending an unaccredited program at Olive-Harvey College to transfer immediately to Daley or Malcolm X. The nursing program at unaccredited Kennedy-King was phased out over a period of months.
At the time, Hyman said she was “acutely aware” of the nationwide nursing shortage and had no intention of reducing the overall capacity of the program. She vowed to “grow” the nursing program over time and upgrade nursing facilities.
On Tuesday, she said she’s convinced she did the right thing — even though the consolidation increased commuting times for some students.
“It was important for us to ensure that, when students invested their time and money that they didn’t get cheated, that they got access to a high-quality program,” she said.
“I am a product of City Colleges of Chicago and, no, I do not feel like I was cheated. But it is important to ensure that our programs are accredited and they are of high quality and reflective of what the industry demands . . . where our industry partners are helping design them.” Also on Tuesday, Emanuel announced the start of new and enhanced programs for City Colleges students enrolling in the College-to-Careers program this fall.
The new offerings include a health-care bridge program, a free warehousing career-bridge program, an advanced certificate in supply chain management and a basic certificate in sheet-metal technology.
Programs enhanced with input from private industry partners include basic certificates in medical billing and medical coding, a basic certificate in supply chain management, commercial driver’s licenses, a forklift operator basic certificate and nursing foundation courses.