The City Colleges of Chicago provides adult education instruction at 52 off-campus sites – locations hosted by city partners, including community-based and faith-based organizations. These partnerships help us meet our students where they are, and they help us mitigate capacity issues we face at several campuses. Recently, Reinvention looked at our off-campus sites in the light of our fourth goal – to increase the number and share of adult education students who transition to postsecondary. From our research we uncovered many opportunities for improvement.
Attached to this blog post is a map. The Reinvention team created it to visualize where we have off-campus instruction. Each off-campus site is represented as a dot, each dot color-coded to indicate college affiliation. You will see immediately that our sites are clustered together in a few places.
Knowing there is a very high need for adult education services in Chicago, we also asked ourselves, do these clusters fully reflect where that need is? We tried to find out which communities in the city have the highest number of people who would use ESL services, and where are the highest numbers of high school drop-outs. We used these to help us learn where our potential GED and English language learner students are.
We have also attached to this post what we’ve found in terms of need. In the top table you see some communities of high-need, according to Census 2010 data, in terms of high densities of non-English speakers and individuals without high school diplomas. The lower table shows the neighborhoods in which we provide the most adult education services. From the data alone, it seems we have an opportunity to serve our high-need communities, such as Brighton Park and Gage Park (where we presently have no sites), better.
Finally, the POG team identified the final adult education instructional level presently offered at each off-campus site, identified the nearest CCC main campus, and will provide off-campus students information on how and why to continue their education at a main campus. This will improve our alignment between off-campus sites and main campus and ease transition to postsecondary, directly impacting the fourth goal.
We are also doing what we can to institute new processes and work in high-demand areas as fast as possible, but also as carefully as possible. We have shared our work with the head of the AFSCME union, Mark Freeman, the Board of Trustees, as well as with many representatives from community collaborator organizations that work with City Colleges, who concur that our work in this area makes sense and will collaborate with us in the future. We look forward to continuing this work, collaborating with adult educators and with community leaders in moving forward with adult education services throughout the City of Chicago.
Let us know what you think.
– Charles Ansell, Center for Operational Excellence