Chicago's city colleges are getting a big boost, the mayor announced Tuesday.
The schools will receive $479 million for renovations, including a new Malcolm X College to replace the 41-year-old building, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. The cash infusion is part of the system's new "College to Careers" initiative.
"The three pillars of our educational system to make sure that we continue to recruit companies to move here or expand here are going to be the focus of the community college system. We train, in the four-year institutions, in and around the state, a great workforce, highly educated and highly motivated, said Emanuel.
The new college will focus on the healthcare field, home healthcare and nursing. Emanuel's office estimates there will be 84,000 healthcare-related job openings in the Chicago area in the next eight years.
"I cannot allow the kids from our city colleges to not have a chance at those 84,000 jobs in healthcare," he said.
Malcolm X College is located close to Rush and Cook County hospitals, making a healthcare focus even more appropriate, Emanuel said.
City Colleges has capital reserves of $120 million, the Mayor's Office said. The capital program also will be funded through $274 million from bond proceeds, $77 million from operations and $8 million in TIF funds.
The other city colleges also will see renovations and career-related focuses. Olive Harvey College, for example, will focus on transportation and logistics.
The new Malcolm X is expected to open in spring 2015.