Chicago State University Abstract

Publication Date: May 27, 2020

Building Pathways to a Brighter Future

Chicago State University

Partnerships to STEP-UP in Health Careers

Location: Chicago, IL


Six-Year Project Period: September 30, 2015 - September 29, 2021*

Annual Award Amount: $2,436,636

Type of Organization: Public/State-Controlled Institution of Higher Education

Service Area: City of Chicago, especially the south side and southern suburbs 

Target Population: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals


Number of individuals that will be enrolled in the overall HPOG program: 700

Number of TANF recipients that will be enrolled: 315

Number of individual participants that will begin basic skills education: 630

Number of individual participants that will complete basic skills education: 567

Number of participants that will begin any healthcare occupational training: 608

Number of participants that will complete any healthcare occupational training: 486

Number of individual participants that will obtain employment in a healthcare occupation: 438


The Partnership to STEP UP in Health Careers program is a multitiered approach to career laddering. The program involves collaboration between Chicago State University, South Suburban College, Metropolitan Family Services-Calumet, and Metropolitan Family Services-Southwest, two community-based organizations. The program is designed to: 1) target competencies and training for health professions in high demand with career ladder options; 2) combine supportive services with educational training services to help participants reach the highest level of their career trajectory; 3) provide clearly articulated career pathways from the certificate level through the undergraduate degree level, with necessary credentialing; and 4) offer internships and employment support to enable participants to overcome obstacles to employment. Occupations that are trained for include: Community Health Worker, Nursing Assistant, Medical Assistant, Medical Insurance Coder, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Registered Nurse, Health Educator, Occupational Therapist, Personal Care Aide (PCA), Medical and Health Services Manager, Contact Tracer, and Occupational Therapy Aide.

The STEP UP program offers basic skills training, case management, transportation assistance, tuition assistance, childcare assistance, tutoring services, academic support workshops, advisement and career counseling, along with peer support, job search assistance, job placement and retention support, work readiness training, digital literacy, and clinical support.

STEP UP continues to have strong relationships with the Illinois Department of Human Services offices housing the TANF program and is working remotely with case managers who are making referrals for healthcare training. Client work sanctions have been lifted; however, they will make referrals for those who are interested in healthcare training. Staff have continued to work remotely with the neighboring WIOA offices and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The PCA and Contact Tracer programs were accepted by the WIOA program, increasing the potential for strengthening the existing relationship and receiving referrals for new participants. The program director is in communication with a new director for apprenticeship.

*This second round of grant awards has been extended an additional 12 months, ending September 29, 2021.

HPOG Chicago State University Abstract (PDF)

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