< Back to Search

Chicago State University Abstract

Published: May 19, 2016
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Grants Abstract
Abstracts, HPOG Grantees

Building Pathways to a Brighter Future

Chicago State University

Partnerships to STEP-UP in Health Careers

Location: Chicago, IL


Five-Year Project Period: September 30, 2015 - September 29, 2020

Annual Award Amount: $2,436,636

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

Service Area: Southside of Chicago and Southland suburbs of Cook County in Illinois 

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 an evidence-based, multi-institution collaboration that uses a multitiered approach to career laddering. The STEP-UP program involves collaboration between Chicago State University, a 4-year university; South Suburban College, a 2-year community college; and Proactive Community Services and Metropolitan Family Services-Calumet, two community-based organizations servicing the target population. 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, Medical and Health Services Manager, and Occupational Therapy Aide.

Support services include case management, transportation assistance, tuition and fee assistance, childcare assistance, learning resources, training materials, work readiness, school readiness, job placement support, and internships. 

The program instituted an “Adopt a TANF Office Model,” in which one staff member is assigned as a liaison to regularly engage the TANF office regarding recruitment, potential candidates, and outreach. STEP-UP staff have identified specific program components of matching the service requirements of TANF. STEP-UP recruiters are beginning monthly recruitment visits and a TANF representative has joined monthly STEP-UP partnership meetings. Apprenticeship in Illinois is primarily in the trades, but STEP-UP staff conduct informational sessions once a month in two area offices of the Department of Employment Security. All STEP-UP program partners have forged relationships for recruitment, referral, and client support.

Last Reviewed: April 23, 2019