September 22, 2011

Mayor Emanuel Attends the Grand Opening of Chicago's First Charter School Dedicated to Health Science Careers

Mayor reiterates Administration’s focus on giving Chicago’s students the tools they need to succeed in a modern, global economy

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, State Representative Edward Acevedo and Baxter International Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert L. Parkinson, Jr. at the grand opening of the Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (IHSCA) high school, the Chicago Public Schools’ first charter dedicated to health science careers.

"We must invest in what is important: our children," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "It is imperative that we give Chicago’s students the tools they need to succeed in college and compete and win in a modern, global workforce.  From providing targeted classes for students to learn the skills they need to reach their goals in health sciences careers, as they do at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, to allowing additional instructional time for students across the city to discover their passions, our city must provide Chicago’s students with every opportunity to excel.”

At capacity, IHSCA will serve 600 students and address the profound shortage of Latinos in the healthcare field through innovative partnerships that integrate industry needs with the educational aspirations of urban youth.

IHSCA features a rigorous college prep curriculum rooted in College Readiness Standards and National Health Sciences curricula.  The school vision is accompanied by a facility with 32 high-tech classrooms, 10 science labs, a nursing simulation lab, a student and community public library, and a 400-person commons with a downtown view.

Healthcare industry leaders play a major role in the career development of the students at the IHSCA. The Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council played a guiding role in designing the school. Partners such as Baxter International Inc., Children’s Memorial Hospital and Rush University Medical Center lend both financial and human capital to strengthen the academic model.

"Latinos are underrepresented in healthcare, and Instituto’s college preparatory curriculum will lay a foundation for a highly-skilled workforce that will lead scientific breakthroughs,” said Robert L. Parkinson, Jr., Baxter International Inc. chairman and chief executive officer. “Baxter’s Science @ Work education initiative supports Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy with scientific expertise, employee volunteers, and financial contributions to better prepare students for important careers in healthcare.”

The $24 million facility is owned by Instituto del Progreso Latino, a leading community-based organization known nationally for its work in developing high-performing career pathway programs and was made possible through a $12 million dollar grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity "Illinois Jobs Now!" Capital Construction/Economic Recovery Bill, a leverage loan from BMO Harris Bank N.A., and New Market Tax Credits through JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Chicago Development Fund, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

“By creating this innovative school, we can connect our students’ passion for math and science into well-paying careers in medicine, nursing, informatics and biotechnology” said Juan Salgado, president and CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino.  “We thank Mayor Rahm Emanuel for making Chicago students his priority.”