NORTH PARK — Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced a five-year, $2.6 million program Tuesday linking Von Steuben High School to the Illinois Institute of Technology.
"We live in a time when you earn what you learn," Emanuel said in a news conference at Von Steuben. He added that a background in science, technology, math and science, as found at Von Steuben's Metropolitan Science Center, was critical to jobs in the future. "A STEM education is now a foundational piece of information."
Exelon will help fund the program, valued at $2.6 million and expected to funnel 300 students between the schools for studies based on technological fields. Emanuel said both Exelon and IIT jumped at the opportunity.
Beginning in the fall, Von Steuben students will be able to earn college credits at IIT, an initiative the Emanuel administration has emphasized at schools throughout the city.
Joining Emanuel in touting the "partnership" between the school's STEM program and the Bronzeville university were IIT Provost Alan Cramb and Von Steuben Principal Laura LeMone.
"This partnership with Von Steuben represents a whole new model to encourage high-school students in urban areas to higher achievement," Cramb said. He pointed out the college classes will be offered at no cost to Von Steuben students thanks to the Exelon sponsorship.
Added LeMone: "This partnership highlights our students' continued academic exploration and enhances our focus on STEM here at Von Steuben."
Chicago Board of Education member Carlos Azcoitia said there are 20 Chicago Public Schools with similar "pipeline" programs with local colleges and universities.
"I've challenged all the four-year institutions in the city and the two-year institutions to have a direct partnership with a specific school," Emanuel added. "I'm not done. We have others to go."
He said he was looking to expand it as far as possible while making sure the "peanut butter isn't spread too thin."
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