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Improve educational outcomes and eliminate educational disparities on Chicago’s West Side.

To combat the longstanding disinvestment in education on the West Side, West Side United is dedicated to initiatives that improve the quality of education in our communities. WSU convened community and education stakeholders and the together decided to create an internship and apprenticeship working group. The working group convenes education staff across hospitals to discuss programmatic efforts and recruitment processes to increase West Side youth involvement in internships and other opportunities. In addition, WSU will be offering capacity supports to one selected elementary school located on the West Side and offer services in mental health, primary care, social-emotional learning, career exposure, and more.

In 2018, WSU organized over 400 internships. And in 2019, WSU is hoping to increase seats to reach 600. WSU has also noticed the need for educational support on the West Side and will offer programmatic supports to one West Side Elementary school by the year 2020.
internship opportunities created in 2018
0 %
of West Side high schools participated in WSU programs in 2018

WSU tracks the progress of our initiatives; we also track changes in community-level data to monitor progress towards our overarching goals and inform our actions and projects on the ground. We selected 3 Education metrics from our comprehensive measurement framework to highlight key areas of focus. For more information about our comprehensive framework, please click here.

Our 2019 West Side United commitments include the following:

  • Increasing high school internships by 50% from 400 to 600 seats.
  • Supporting the development of community hubs at up to 2 schools to expand wrap-around services.
In our metrics dashboard, we are tracking:

Third grade reading level is a predictor of other long-term educational outcomes, like middle school reading levels and even college attendance. Reading scores in third grade can indicate the quality of educational supports and longer term opportunity for youth. This measure shows the percent of third graders who are reading at or above the national average reading level

Unemployment is nearly 2 percentage points higher for adults who do not have a high school diploma compared to those who do. Completion of a high school degree is important for long term income growth and employment stability. This measure shows the percent of adults age 25 and older who have earned a high school diploma or equivalent.

The median monthly income for adults with an associates degree is nearly $500 higher compared to adults with a high school diploma and $1300 higher for those with a college degree. This measure shows the percent of adults age 25 and older who have earned an Associates degree or higher.

Tenisha Jones, Senior Director for Strategy and Operations
Tenisha Jones
Senior Director, Strategy and Operations

To learn more about supporting education in our 10 communities, please email Tenisha at: tjones@westsideunited.org