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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced Chicago’s youth will now have access to an additional 10,000 academic and job training opportunities through partnerships across the City as part of 2014’s Summer of Learning and Earning, a citywide initiative to keep Chicago youth ages 4 to 24 active and engaged this summer. The “Summer of Learning and Earning 2014” will provide more than 215,000 opportunities for Chicago’s young people, including interactive activities at parks, libraries, schools, museums and cultural institutions, colleges and universities; community- and faith-based programs, jobs through at City and County departments and sister agencies; and self-paced, online learning activities.
“In the wake of last year’s incredibly successful summer programming, I am pleased to see our citywide summer initiatives growing and thriving as we work to support the educational and career goals of all Chicago students and young adults,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Providing additional opportunities in the summer months is an important way to keep our youth safe, active and engaged, and ensure our students are graduating 100% college ready and 100% college bound.”
The Summer of Learning and Earning will include the Chicago Summer of Learning, which the Mayor launched last year to call together the entire city to an all-hands-on-deck effort to make summer count and support science, technology, engineering, art, and math learning for students of all ages. One Summer Chicago will also add an additional 2,000 job opportunities. Since the Mayor has taken office, job opportunities for youth have increased from 14,000 to 22,000.
“The City’s summer programming will be our biggest and best ever, with 22,000 job and internship opportunities designed to build 21st century skills and prepare our youth to succeed in school, work and life,” said Commissioner Evelyn Diaz of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. “We are accepting applications now through May 16, so we strongly encourage young people who want a job this summer to visit our website at www.onesummerchicago.org and apply.”
“The students and their projects from last year’s program were so impressive that we jumped at the chance to support DFSS’ 2014 One Summer Chicago effort,” said Glenn Tilton, chairman of the Midwest for JPMorgan Chase. “Learning is a key to change and we believe that this program can help individuals acquire the knowledge and skills needed to become productive, engaged citizens.”
The Summer of Learning and Earning will use resources throughout the City of Chicago to provide a wide range of academic enrichment opportunities for Chicago’s students and young adults, allowing them to stay academically on track and cultivate important job skills during the summer months. In addition to CPS programs, museums, cultural institutions, colleges and universities, and community- and faith-based organizations will all offer a wide range of programs to keep students academically engaged throughout the year and combat summer learning loss. Many programs will focus in the critical science, technology, engineering, art and math disciplines.
“Learning doesn’t just take place in a school house. At City of Learning we believe that all Chicago is and can be a campus where when young people create poetry, design clothing, design video games, make films, explore nature – they learn the important math, science, arts and leadership skills that they need to succeed”, said Dr. Nichole Pinkard, DePaul University professor and head of the Digital Youth Network, which leads the initiative.
The Summer of Learning and Earning will once again engage youth by challenging them to earn digital badges to mark their successes. These badges are a tangible way for students to display their activities and achievements to teachers, college admissions officers or future employers, making learning pathways visible and recognizing student accomplishments. Last summer, Chicago launched the world’s first citywide digital badging system to recognize out-of-school student learning, and students earned approximately 100,000 badges.
Connie Yowell, Director of Education for U.S. Programs at the MacArthur Foundation, said that Chicago has become a model for the nation. “The first-ever program that treated summer activities as examples of connected learning and provided badges for youth participation and achievement, last year’s Summer of Learning was incredibly successful, awarding more than 100,000 badges to participants,” said Yowell. “In fact the program was so successful that now five other cities are replicating Mayor Emanuel’s signature program, coming together under the cities of learning banner to provide youth with learning and badging opportunities. “
Mayor Emanuel stressed that youth need not wait for summer to become engaged. Throughout spring break, Chicago City of Learning will provide on-site and on-line activities for youth at museums, parks and community organizations. On May 10th, Chicago City of Learning will sponsor Destination: Chicago at Jones College Prep on South State Street, a day-long city-wide fair where youth of all ages may sample summer learning opportunities, engage in creative hands-on activities and sign up for summer programs.
For more information concerning programs related to the Summer of Learning and Earning, parents and students can apply and register online at the following websites:
• Learning activities- Chicago City of Learning: www.chicagocityoflearning.org
• Summer jobs- One Summer Chicago: www.onesummerchicago.org
• Parks programming- Chicago Park District: www.chicagoparkdistrict.com
Registration is open for all of these programs.