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Smarter Cities Challenge Comes to Chicago

March 1, 2012

Chicago will see the opening of a new 6-year high school this fall, in partnership with IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge. After successfully opening Pathways Technology Early Career High School in Brooklyn this past summer, IBM will be partnering with Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges of Chicago to open a 9-14 grade school that focuses on fostering career readiness and  will allow students to graduate with associate’s degrees in Information Technology and Computer Science.

Opening in September 2012, incoming freshmen will each be given an IBM mentor who will engage with them both online and in person to help them gain the skills they need to be successful in their chosen field. IBM will help to create a mentoring curriculum that includes guest speakers, workplace visits, and internships. Students who complete the 6 year program will also be fast-tracked for a career at IBM upon graduation. College courses will be taught by City Colleges of Chicago professors, so that even those students who choose not to complete the extra two years will graduate with college credits under their belts.

Alongside this announcement, Smarter Cities also released “STEM Pathways to Colleges and Career Schools: A Development Guide.” This publicly available “playbook” is a comprehensive guide for the model behind the Pathways school so that others may replicate or expand upon their methods.

The Smarter Cities Challenge is a grant-giving subsidiary of IBM, which pursues partnerships with cities around the globe to solve quality of life problems and improve city services. Past projects have included a smart grid energy project in Boulder, Colorado; traffic mediation in Indonesia; and crime prevention measures in the Netherlands. For more information see their website.

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