Take part in The College Success Project with Northwestern researchers. For completing a 15-minute survey, you will receive an $15 Amazon gift card and be entered into a raffle to win a $100 Amazon gift card!
The Career Pathways website is a robust search tool that combines Chicagoland job training, community college and apprenticeship opportunities with relevant information for applying. Job training programs have a wide variety of application processes. Below is a quick sampling of alternative programs offered by colleges and private programs and links to their website for applying.
Do you like airplanes or flying and want to be a part of the industry?
There are a lot of different ways to get involved and to launch an aviation-related career. Here are some great local programs for the various ways to work in the field:
Pilot – Due to the skill and experience required to fly airplanes there is no quick or “cheap” way to do it. You will have to complete a flight school training program and log hours in the air practicing. For example, in order to fly commercial jet liners (like for Southwest, United or Delta Airlines) the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires you to have at least 1,500 hours of flight time prior to receiving your license. So it’s a real commitment, but if you stick to it, you will find yourself with a lot of opportunity and a reliable salary (avg. $86,000/yr.) – plus free travel!
Two pilot training programs we recommend are:
Flight Attendant – This is the person on the plane who welcomes passengers, who serves them food and beverages, and who has the responsibility of keeping all airline passengers and crew safe. They respond to any passenger emergencies that occur and make sure everyone follows FAA rules on board the plane.
The first step in becoming a flight attendant is to apply for a training program with an airline. Two good ones are:
You don’t need experience, but Airlines require job applicants to have at least a high-school diploma or GED, and while a college degree is not required it does help to have some college courses completed, or to be currently enrolled in classes.
Flight attendants must also meet specific physical requirements (lift 50+ lbs, stand for long periods of time, etc.). You will also need to pass a background check and a pre-employment drug screening. Visible tattoos are typically not allowed unless they can be concealed with clothes or makeup.
Airplane maintenance – Check out the 10-week Aviation Mechanics certification program at Olive-Harvey College to learn the basics and to get started. With a hands-on approach to learning, students acquire essential tool usage, physics, maintenance operations, and emerging aviation maintenance technology skills. Upon completion of the basic certificate, students will be eligible to take the FAA General portion of the FAA Aviation Maintenance Technician certification exam.
CCC job training programs offer Basic Certificates (usually one to two semester programs) and Advanced Certificates (usually two to three semester programs). These are popular certifications that lead directly into a job and/or career field.
Links to Example Programs
The construction trades are a pathway to good jobs with wages that are on par with occupations that require a Bachelor’s degree but without years of college or the debt. View this guidebook to learn more about a career pathway in the construction trades, including average salaries of various trades. This glossary of terms is a useful resource to define terms associated with the construction trades. Below are some programs to explore:
City Colleges of Chicago programs with union partnerships:
The Chicago Apprentice Network is working to bridge the gap by raising awareness of apprenticeship and helping more businesses establish successful apprentice programs to offer more opportunities to more people in Chicagoland. Since 2017, the Chicago Apprentice Network has grown from three founding companies – Accenture, Aon and Zurich North America – to more than 50 companies across multiple industries. An apprenticeship is an earn and learn model with:
Access points for apprenticeship vary. Some opportunities are offered through a community college or other education provider. Some employers accept applications directly, during specific periods or ongoing throughout the year. Other opportunities originate with nonprofits, which refer candidates to businesses offering apprenticeships. Explore opportunities here.
Relativity Fellows is a program offered by software company Relativity, which tackles challenges in legal tech, data privacy, and security. Fellows will play an important role in helping create an industry that reflects our communities. In return, participants of the Relativity Fellows program will receive:
All Fellows will receive in-depth training on the Relativity product, and some participants, depending on placement role, will pursue Relativity certification. Learn more about the program here and complete this form if you are interested in becoming a Relativity Fellow!
An EMT, also known as an EMT-basic, cares for patients when there is an accident, injury or a medical emergency in someone’s home. They are trained to drive an ambulance and to administer treatment through the equipment and devices provided in an ambulance. An EMT has the skills to assess a patient’s condition and to manage respiratory, cardiac and trauma emergencies.
To become an EMT, students must have a high school diploma (or GED), become CPR certified, complete an EMT training course and pass the NREMT licensing exam.
Once you have your EMT-basic license, you can then take additional classes to become a EMT-P, or Paramedic, which receives more money and is a great way to move into a hospital-based medical career (nurse, doctor, etc.) or to join your local firefighting department.
We recommend any of these local programs to begin your EMT training. You can also explore additional healthcare opportunities in the Chicagoland Healthcare Workforce Directory.
Elite Ambulance – A private EMT-training program which costs $700 total and takes 4 months to complete.
Superior Ambulance – A private EMT-training program which costs $800 but takes 3 months to complete.
EMT Training at Malcolm X – Public City Colleges of Chicago program, eligible for financial aid to help pay training tuition.
Jane Addams Resource Corporation provide FREE job training and job placement services that can help you find employment in the manufacturing sector with skills in Computer Numerical Control (CNC), welding, and more. Anyone enrolled in our programs has free access to math, reading, and computer tutors, as well as financial coaching and public benefits screening.
Coding “bootcamp” programs offer online training in a tech field in a short amount of time. These generally operate as for-profit businesses, so it’s advised that you do your research to evaluate whether or not a program is a good fit, such as speaking to alumni or current students. Several programs offer payment options that allow you to defer payment until you secure a job or tuition refund guarantees if you do not secure a job after graduation. It’s important to take a look at the job placement support and results and any fine print for these programs. Here are some examples:
Digital Scholars is a FREE intensive, five-week-long program (June 27, 2022 – August 2, 2022) for high school students and incoming freshman and current students at UIC or City Colleges. Applications for Summer 2022 will be accepted beginning October 1st.
The program is intentional about serving CPS and Chicago-area students, first-generation, and students of color. The program is free. Support is also provided for those in need of a device for e-learning. Apply here.
In order to qualify for the Digital Scholars summer program students must:
Students accepted into the program must attend a mandatory online orientation meeting with a parent or guardian. The orientation will introduce students to the UIC – DPI Digital Scholars program, expectations, offerings and more.
TechReady Illinois was launched to help unemployed, furloughed and underutilized Illinoisans compete for these jobs of the future by providing training courses for the high-demand fields of computer science, data and engineering programs.
Courses are offered in one of four tracks, with opportunities to obtain a certificate upon completion. These include:
Participating institutions include the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois System, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and City Colleges of Chicago. To participate, residents complete virtual courses, some conducted by faculty from participating academic institutions. Others are run by non-profit partners, including National Able’s IT Career Lab and i.c.stars. Many of these courses lead to industry-recognized certificates. Learn more here.
The Comp-U-Dopt IT Pathways Program is a rigorous, immersive learning experience that introduces participants to knowledge and skills in Information Technology and helps them explore careers in IT. The program combines curriculum from Cisco Networking Academy and Comp-U-Dopt to equip students with essential IT technical knowledge and skills, as well as career readiness competencies. Students will receive support from a Cisco-certified trainer to prepare for the CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam, an entry-level computer industry certification. To register, click here.
At Seneca Foundation, we believe you shouldn’t have to wait 4+ years to start your career in tech or go into debt to pursue your dreams. Our paid software development apprenticeship is available to you now and it can be completed in 12 months! This is a full-time, virtual apprenticeship opportunity and we will provide coding training for 6 hours a day (10am-4pm, Mon-Fri), with real-world software development experience from our corporate training partners, and the flexibility to take related college courses in the evenings. Seneca also believes in giving you the tools you need to succeed both during and after your apprenticeship; therefore, all apprentices will receive a laptop from Seneca to complete their remote work, plus professional development training, college application assistance and college tuition aid.
All this while also getting paid an apprenticeship wage of $18/hr!
*One-on-one mentorship from a technology professional
*College advising and professional development workshops
*College tuition assistance to pursue a degree post-apprenticeship
*Potential opportunity for continued employment with Seneca Foundation’s local and national technology partner companies upon successful completion of your apprenticeship
To qualify, you must be:
Job training programs are not easy. They usually require students to be on-time (often before 9am) on the job site, in uniform, with any relevant tools and equipment, ready to learn! They are setting you up for success in a career field that is going to eventually make you good money and provide you opportunities for professional growth, so they expect that you are going to take the opportunity very seriously. It is recommended that students applying for job training programs follow these key guidelines:
Do your research before you apply:
Clear your schedule:
Determine how you will pay:
While this document provided by the IBEW specifically focuses on construction and electrical apprentices, the advice here can be applied to anyone in a job training program.
We understand the need to talk to a real person. Our staff covers both high school and college campuses.
We understand the need to talk to a real person. Our staff covers both high school and college campuses.
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