The city of Chicago announced this week that it will allocate $1.25 million in recovered TIF funds toward training disadvantaged students in innovative manufacturing as part of a plan to create new programs at the Austin Polytechnical Academy. The new programs will offer state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing training to students in grades 9 – 12 who will soon enter the workforce and will have to compete with current changes that are taking place in the American manufacturing sector.
“Investing in our children and their futures is a key priority of my administration and this funding will allow thousands of Chicago’s children to get high-paying jobs in tomorrow’s workforce,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I’m proud to be able to reinvest these recovered TIF funds into a neighborhood program that will directly impact the lives of Chicago’s families and strengthen our city’s economy for the future.”
The school, located on Chicago’s West Side, is a college and career prep high school with a focus on manufacturing and engineering. The school was founded in 2007 by the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council. More than 60 industry partners work in conjunction with the Academy to provide students with mentoring, field trips, work experience, and other enrichment opportunities.
The $1.25 million that the city is investing the school is part of a $5.6 million in TIF funds that was returned by United Airlines on Monday of this week.
The five programs that will be financed with the investment include:
The Austin Manufacturing Innovation Park
The Innovation Park will become a manufacturing campus in Austin that would help local manufacturers access innovation and new technologies as well as skilled workforce.
The Austin Polytech Career Program
The Career Program will recruite partner companies to provide exposure to manufacturing careers through internships and other programming.
The Austin Manufacturing Training Program
This is a machining training and credentialing program for adults. 45 to 50 students will be in the program.
Elementary School Outreach
This funding will include a budget for outreach to elementary schools to get students interested in pursuing STEM education, manufacturing training, engineering and technology.
The ACT Bridge Program
The ACT bridge program prepares African-American males, ages 18 and up, with the math and English skills needed for community colleges or the Austin Manufacturing Training Program.
“This is a wonderful program for the Austin neighborhood and the surrounding communities,” said Ald. Emma Mitts, 37th ward. “This is a great example of how we can develop partnerships between public and private institutions to provide opportunity for our young people to get world-class education and jobs.”
The school is a bright spot a neighborhood that has experienced a particularly violent summer. The Austin neighborhood suffered with highest homicide rate in the city according to Chicago Magazine.