City Colleges of Chicago was awarded $5.5 million in grants from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) as part of ICCB’s Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI), which focuses on improving workforce equity starting in fiscal year 2020 in at-risk communities. Kennedy-King College, Olive-Harvey College and Malcolm X College each received $1.5 million, and Wright College received $1 million.

The objective of the grant is to offer more students the opportunity to quickly complete short-term certificate programs that lead to employment in high-skilled, high-wage, and in-demand occupations to further promote workforce equity for African Americans in Illinois.

“The City is committed to expanding opportunities for young people to engage in meaningful work experiences while still in school,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Career-relevant learning and post-secondary credentials play a vital role in creating new pathways to economic opportunity for Chicagoans and helping our communities thrive.”

The grant funds will be used to offer students opportunities to earn an industry-recognized credential and/or certificate (credit or non-credit) and take advantage of financial supports and last-dollar scholarships. The colleges and programs awarded by the state target the city’s South and West Side communities.

“I want to thank the state of Illinois for supporting our efforts to create greater access and equitable outcomes for students across Chicago communities,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado. “These funds will help ensure we can serve students who most need the opportunity to quickly secure in-demand jobs and move up the income ladder.”

Olive-Harvey College, which recently opened a first-of-its-kind in Illinois Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Center, will use the $1.5 million to support students in basic certificate programs in the fields of Auto-Diesel Repair; Specialized Freight/CDL; General Warehousing; Air Transportation Service Technicians; and Custom Computer Programming Services.

At Kennedy-King College, the grant money will benefit students pursuing programs in automotive technology, collision, construction, HVAC and cyber technology. Malcolm X College plans to use the grant to increase the number of African American students from communities on the West Side of Chicago who enroll in and complete six basic certificate programs—Community Health Worker, Cybersecurity, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Personal Fitness Training, Phlebotomy and Sterile Processing.

Wright College’s funds will support the school’s JobHire initiative, a tuition-free, short-term job training program, which leads participants to meaningful certifications in Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology and Public Safety. The program aims to serve students in the Austin community.

​​To learn more about City Colleges and to apply, please visit or call 773/COLLEGE. ​