February 18, 2013

City Colleges of Chicago Expands Education Opportunities for Chicago Adults

CCC Opens Over 20 New Adult Education Locations Offering Free ESL and GED Classes

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman today announced that educational opportunities for adults across Chicago are expanding because of a comprehensive effort to both target its adult education offerings in areas where there is high demand as well as dramatically increase the number of community locations that provide these important classes. Twenty-four new locations are now open in neighborhoods from Brighton Park to Englewood to Avondale, supporting adults looking to earn a GED, improve their English language skills or become college ready. Six additional new sites are expected to open in the coming months to meet community demand. All CCC adult education classes are free. 

“Learning is a life-long pursuit and it is incumbent upon us to ensure Chicagoans have access to quality education programs that supports their success, from pre-k to college and beyond,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “From day one we have been working to make the kinds of strategic and effective investments that promote a strong and vibrant workforce and support the success of our residents, from early education to continuing adult learning.”

In addition to increasing the number of adult education off-sites, CCC is also ensuring that every site is directly affiliated with a nearby City College. With this change, the adult education classes remain current and if students are interested in continuing their education further, there is an easy pathway to other City Colleges programs. All off-sites offer beginner- and intermediate-level instruction, with CCC colleges and satellite sites offering advanced-level classes. Prior to this comprehensive effort, CCC operated 39 adult education off-sites.

“By expanding our adult education offerings in previously underserved neighborhoods, from Woodlawn to Roseland to Avondale, City Colleges is addressing a profound need and is expanding opportunities for countless more Chicagoans to pursue a path to college and career,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman.

Increasing access to adult education classes fills a demonstrative need in the city: only a small fraction of Chicago adults who could benefit from ESL, GED, or adult basic education are currently enrolled in these programs.  According to the 2010 census, for instance, almost 330,000 Chicagoans, or nearly one-sixth of city residents of employable age (18 and over), lack a high-school diploma. Yet, only about 45,000 people are enrolled in a GED or an ESL program in the city.

After a rigorous review of current locations and need across the city, CCC’s new off-sites target particularly high-need “adult education deserts,” which have lacked adequate GED/ESL instruction availability. In these areas, at least 30 percent of the adult population is lacking a high-school diploma or English fluency.  City Colleges’ Community Relations Department also worked closely with community groups to identify areas in need.

This review, for example, revealed that the Brighton Park, Belmont-Cragin and Gage Park neighborhoods were all high-need areas, but only hosted a total three CCC off-sites and three non-CCC instruction sites. Subsequently, CCC opened five additional off-sites in these neighborhoods for a total of eight. A list of all new off-site locations and their affiliated colleges can be found below.

“City Colleges’ free adult education classes are an essential but often overlooked part of Chicago’s educational system,” said Lisa Ramsey, executive director of St. Sabina’s Employment Resource Center, a location for a CCC adult education off-site.  “Because of these changes, people living in high-need neighborhoods will have more convenient opportunities to improve their lives and climb the economic ladder. We’re thankful CCC is stepping in to fill gaps in instruction around the city.”

CCC offers the vast majority of all adult education instruction in Chicago. Located at elementary schools, social service agencies and other community spaces around the city convenient to low-income residents, CCC’s more than 60 adult education off-sites offer classes in English (ESL), GED test preparation, Citizenship Exam preparation, and Adult Basic Education (ABE). During fiscal year 2012, about 35,000 of CCC’s 117,000 students were enrolled in adult education courses. (A map of all CCC’s current off-site locations can be viewed here.)

Increasing the number and percentage of adult education students who advance to and succeed in college-credit classes is a core goal of CCC’s Reinvention initiative, which began in 2010. As part of the Reinvention initiative, CCC decided to strategically review its adult education offerings.


  • Burroughs Elementary School/Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, 3542 S. Washtenaw – Brighton Park
  • Kelly High School/Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, 4136 S. California Ave. – Brighton Park
  • Davis Elementary School/Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, 3014 W. 39th Place – Brighton Park
  • Center of Higher Development, 3515 S. Cottage Grove – Oakland/Douglas
  • Woodlawn Community School, 6657 S. Kimbark Ave. – Woodlawn
  • Woodlawn Resource Center-Metropolitan Family Service, 830 E. 63rd St. – Woodlawn
  • Liberation Inc., 6810 S. Ashland Ave. – West Englewood/Ashburn
  • George Washington Elementary School, 3611 E. 114th St.  – East Side
  • Metropolitan - Marsh Elementary School, 9822 S. Exchange – South Chicago
  • Langston Hughes Elementary School, 240 W. 104th St. – Roseland
  • Metropolitan Family Services, 235 E. 103rd St. – Roseland
  • Ismaili Community Center, 1124-30 W. Rosemont Ave.—Edgewater
  • Onward Neighborhood House, 5423 W. Diversey Ave. – Belmont-Cragin
  • Darwin School, 3116 W. Belden Ave.—Palmer Square/Logan Square
  • Avondale-Logandale School: 2945 North Sawyer Ave. – Logan Square
  • Lorca Elementary School: 3231 North Springfield Ave. - Avondale
  • SEIU: 300 North Ashland Ave. – Near West
  • Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church: 4543 S Princeton Ave. – Fuller Park
  • Black United Fund of Illinois: 1750 East 71st St. – South Shore
  • Coppin Community Center: 5627 S. Michigan Ave. – Washington Park
  • Henry Clay Elementary School: 13231 S. Burley Ave. - Hegewisch
  • Southwest Organizing Project (at Talman Elementary School): 5450 South Talman Ave. – Gage Park
  • Spencer Parent Academy: 214 N Lavergne Ave. - Austin
  • Lloyd Elementary School: 2103 North Lamon Ave. – Logan Square


  • Aquinas Literacy Center: 3540 South Hermitage Ave. – McKinley Park
  • Enlace Chicago (at Little Village/Lawndale High School): 3120 S. Kostner Ave. – Little Village
  • Eli Whitney Elementary: 2815 South Komensky Ave. – Little Village
  • Center on Halsted: 3656 N. Halsted St. - Lakeview
  • Family Focus (at Volta Elementary School): 4950 N. Avers Ave. – Albany Park
  • Lavizzo School: 138 W. 109th St. - Roseland

To enroll in adult education classes, students must be at least 18 years old. However, 16 and 17 year-olds may register with an official release letter certifying that they are no longer attending high school. 

For more information about CCC’s adult education programs, visit this web page.


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