Mayor Rahm Emanuel gathered with community leaders and residents at Austin Polytechnical Academy on Nov. 13 to announce the city’s $1.25 million award to fund advanced manufacturing education and programs in the community.
The $1.25 million is Chicago’s share of the $5.6 million in TIF funds returned by United Airlines last Monday. Emanuel has committed to using the returned funds to support investment in the city’s key priorities and neighborhoods, according to a press release.
“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,” Emanuel said in the release. “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 funding will be used to support several programs in the community, working with Austin Polytechnical Academy and others such as:
The Austin Manufacturing Innovation Park – The goal of this program is to begin the exploratory phase of building 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 – This program has an annual mission of recruiting 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, that meets on evenings, weekends, and in the summer. About 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 Austin Empowerment Project – The bridge program, a collaboration of several Austin Coming Together network organizations including Phalanx Family Services, Friendship Community Development Corporation of Austin, West Side Health Authority, Manufacturers Link and a partnership with the University of Illinois-Chicago Reading Clinic, prepares African-American males, ages 18 and up, with the math and English skills needed for community colleges or the Austin Manufacturing Training Program (or similar training and vocational programs).
Austin Coming Together Executive Director Amara Enyia, Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), Ald. Deborah Graham (29th), Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) attended the Nov. 13 news conference.
“This is a wonderful program for the Austin neighborhood and the surrounding communities,” Mitts said. “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.”