Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado today opened Olive-Harvey College’s 103,000 square foot Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL) Center. The first-of-its-kind facility in Illinois was designed with input from City Colleges’ faculty and industry partners to prepare students with the skills necessary for the tens of thousands of in-demand TDL jobs expected to come to the region over the next decade. Students will start taking classes in the TDL Center this summer.
“With the completion of Olive-Harvey, we have modernized several of our City Colleges campuses and helped usher in a new era for higher education in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Chicago is a juggernaut for transportation, distribution and logistics, and the new Olive-Harvey will help ensure that Chicago’s students are prepared for the thousands of jobs and opportunities in this rapidly growing field.”
The TDL Center is home to a high-tech central store warehouse, which is not only a hands-on training experience; students will manage the distribution of supplies to all of City Colleges’ seven college campuses and five satellite sites across the city. The central store will provide a direct and practical education from start to finish on a typical industry distribution cycle. The TDL Center also includes a third-party logistics room where students will track packages in real-time. Training on the latest software will prepare students to track real-time item quantities and by-the-minute scanning of product inventory.
The facility also houses: eight automotive and diesel engine laboratories and an engine dynamometer for students learning to be mechanics or technicians; two simulated driving facilities for CDL classes; a testing area and vehicle bays for various automotive technology programs; nine classrooms; and additional features.
“We live in a world where goods traverse the globe at record speeds and the systems used to manage and execute this transport are increasingly complex,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado. “Our new Center will help prepare Chicagoans to thrive in careers in this dynamic industry.”
TDL Center students can pursue degrees and certificate programs in several fields, including: supply chain management and logistics; commercial driving; forklift operation; and automotive, diesel and aviation maintenance and technology. Mechanics starting out can earn up to $45,000 annually, while warehouse supervisors and logistics managers can make up to $55,000 per year.
“The TDL Center has been a labor of love from Mayor Emanuel, our community, our state and local officials and now Governor Pritzker,” said Alderman Michelle Harris, 8th Ward. “Now the future is even brighter for City Colleges students, for employers around the region and for the city’s south side because Chicago is now at the forefront to seize opportunities in transportation, distribution and logistics.”
Located near the nexus of a major interstate exchange, Olive-Harvey College and the TDL Center are hubs for recruitment from companies seeking transportation, distribution and logistics talent. Both the facility and academic programs at the TDL Center were developed with City Colleges faculty and many employer partners to ensure alignment with industry demands. Several employer partners – including Navistar, Ozinga, CTA, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, ComEd, J.B. Hunt, UPS, Schneider National, FedEx, Coyote Logistics, US Xpress, Walmart and Dakkota Integrated Systems – worked to ensure the TDL Center combined innovative technology with practical application.
AAR recently announced a partnership with City Colleges to train students in sheet metal work and airplane maintenance. The aviation company plans to donate three training planes to Olive-Harvey’s aviation technology program.
“I am thrilled that the Olive-Harvey TDL Center is finally open despite the many obstacles that stood in the way, including a governor who held up the process,” Illinois State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. said. “I know this investment in our communities will produce job growth in an area that desperately needs it by providing access to a quality education.”
Employer partners are already eager to hire Olive-Harvey College graduates pursuing certificates and degrees in the transportation, distribution and logistics fields. At a hiring event today, more than 30 employers were seeking talent for roles ranging from forklift operators and materials-handlers to technicians and logistics managers. More than 350 job seekers were registered to attend workshops and meet with employers including: Pepsi, Schneider, Whole Foods Market and Chicago Department of Aviation. The hiring event was hosted by the Mayor’s Office, World Business Chicago, the Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership, Olive Harvey College and Skills for Chicagoland’s Future for Chicagoans interested in transportation, distribution and logistics careers.
The TDL Center has been a priority for Mayor Emanuel since construction first began in October 2013. The project was funded by City Colleges of Chicago capital funds and state grants and managed by the Illinois Capital Development Board.  The project is targeting LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“City Colleges helps thousands of Chicagoans across the city build the skills necessary to reach their full potential,” said Alderman Brookins, 21st Ward. “The long-awaited TDL Center will help students seize careers in the fastest-growing industries in Chicago and across the region.”
The City Colleges graduation rate went from one of the worst in America to a record high of more than 24.3 percent according to preliminary data. There has been a 90 percent increase in the number of students earning their associate degree annually, and the number of graduates transferring to institutions of higher education grew by more than 100 percent since 2011. Chicago Public School students participating in early college programs like dual credit and dual enrollment courses has grown more than tenfold and now serves more than 5,000 students annually. The reinvigoration and investment in City Colleges has provided thousands of Chicagoans with the opportunity to seize 21st century careers because the education is relevant to good jobs in growing fields.
For more information about City Colleges and Olive-Harvey, call 773/C-O-L-L-E-G-E or visit Registration for fall classes begins on April 3.​