Students Celebrate Success in Early College STEM Schools

In 2012, Chicago Public Schools, the City Colleges of Chicago, and the Mayor's Office worked with Civic Consulting and five corporate partners to launch five "Early College STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Schools," where students could earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree in Information Technology at no cost to the student. Five years in, hundreds of CPS students are reaping the benefit of this work. Twelve students have earned associate's degrees in IT from City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) along with their high school diplomas, 68 have earned a semester or more of college credit from CCC, and 466 CPS students have taken at least one college class through the Early College STEM Schools.

The initiative began in fall 2012. Five CPS schools were each paired with a CCC campus and a corporate partner to provide internships, mentoring, and curriculum development support. IBM, Motorola, Verizon, Cisco and Microsoft participated as corporate partners. Given the complexity of the model and the number of stakeholders, the Mayor's Office asked Civic Consulting Alliance to help plan and launch the program.

This year's graduates set out into a world where their IT skills are more in demand than ever. IBM's Charlotte Johnson observed, "CCA looked at the whole model, from vision down to key performance indicators, to understand how it could work in Chicago and provide a framework that enabled each partner to understand its role. The first crop of student participants have now graduated with valuable STEM and workplace skills."

For more information on this project, contact Veenu Verma.

This program prepares you for what's to come in the future. Through my high school coursework, college classes, and my internship at IBM, I have developed the skills and the confidence necessary to be successful in both college and in my career.

Cedric Kelley


Sarah E Goode STEM Academy, Class of 2017