La Shawn K. Ford, 8th District state rep which covers Austin, announced the House is considering a $5 million appropriation to support renovation costs of Malcolm X. College satellite campus on the West Side.
“If we want to provide residents the educational opportunities they deserve, we have to invest in a 21st century learning infrastructure,” Ford said in a press release last week.
Ford said this investment will expand training opportunities for people on the West Side, including in high-demand careers such as nursing and health care. The $5 million appropriation is included in House Bill 1494 and is under review of the House Appropriations – Higher Education Committee he leads. He said he expects it to be approved.
The funds will help support the renovation project of the West Side Learning Center at 4624 W. Madison St., adding a new 5,000-square-foot community center for teaching and learning and renovating the lobby space.
The new building space will be used to host large scale continuing education programs focused on health care, digital literacy, career success, parenting and technology, as suggested by community partners like Build Chicago, Project Exploration, West Side Health Authority and Habilitative Systems, Inc. It is expected the community center will have the capacity to host up to 300 people.
“The West Side of Chicago has a high unemployment rate, and this center will help equip students for living wages in the future,” Ford said, adding that the West Side also has a large number of returning citizens who could benefit from job training opportunities.
The renovation project of Malcolm X. College’s West Side Learning Center also includes plans to renovate the nursing and healthcare program lab, classrooms and offices in the future. As part of this project, in 2019 the city college invested $1 million into state-of-the art biology labs that offer students credit courses and certificate programs in healthcare careers such as nursing, community health and patient care.
“Any time you develop a stronger community college, it’s always good for the community,” Ford said.