Pursuing Careers in Fashion at Chicago Schools

Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

Chicago Schools Increase Thrust on Vocational Training 
With more than 400,000 students spread over 600 public elementary and high schools, Chicago Public Schools, also known as CPS is the third largest school district in the United States.  This extensive network of schools is confined to Chicago’s city limits, and is the second largest employer in the city.  Chicago schools differ from some other school districts in the country in that the entire system is under the control of the Mayor.  Many Chicago schools have their student enrollment restricted by their neighborhood boundaries, and these neighborhood definitions may vary depending on the size of the neighborhood and the number of Chicago schools in it.  With a budget of $6 billion at their disposal, Chicago schools have access to ample resources to help them introduce far reaching programs to enable their students to fully realize their individual potential.  One such course recently introduced in Chicago public schools is the Education to Careers Program.
Chicago Schools Promote Job Ready Skills 
Time used to be when vocational training class was a dumping ground for students who had no hopes or ambitions of a college education.  The Education to Careers Program (ETC) at Chicago schools aims to change all of that.  Students of fashion design, which is a part of ETC in Chicago schools, are not just taught theory and cutting technique in classrooms, but they are also encouraged to undergo on the job training experiences in boutiques and fashion stores. 
This is not just a leapfrog jump from the kind of practical training that involves sewing in classrooms, but it also gives students an insight into the pressures and challenges of a job in the real world.  Students in Chicago schools who opt for such on the job training are not regarded as employees of the firm where they hone their craft; neither do they receive school credit.  Sometimes, however, business owners may choose to pay a minimal stipend.  But such monetary compensation pales in significance to the depth of training and exposure that students of Chicago schools receive when they are provided such real world job experience. 
Forging Alliances to Benefit Students of Chicago Schools 
It’s not just students of fashion design who get to discover and and feed their passion for specific vocations.  The ETC program, which covers around 30,000 students, has teamed up with a number of business owners to provide students the opportunities for after hours job training in a number of other fields like information technology and health services.  Not only are these apprenticeship programs beneficial for those who intend to join the workforce after graduation, but they also provide a solid groundwork for those who might be inspired enough to choose a college program to further enhance their skills.