Chicago Readies Health Care High School

By Staff Report

May. 19, 2010

Chicago Public Schools this fall will open the city’s first high school specializing in health care, a move local hospitals hope will help relieve chronic workforce shortages.

The school, which recently used a lottery system to enroll a freshman class of 160, will have a heavy emphasis on math and science. Juniors and seniors will be able to earn credits by shadowing hospital workers and interning as assistant nurses and in other professions.

Planners aim to prepare students for health- and science-related college programs and certify them for entry-level jobs in health care, such as pharmacy technicians or assistant physical therapists.

“There’s a tremendous need for us to prepare the next generation of health care professionals,” said Juan Salgado, president of Instituto del Progreso Latino, a nonprofit career development group in Pilsen. “If we don’t do a better job of that in our city neighborhoods and communities of color, we’re going to fall short.”

The Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy will set up shop temporarily on the Chicago campus of National-Lewis University. It will seek a permanent site in the Pilsen neighborhood.

Instituto del Progreso Latino and the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, a trade group of hospitals and other medical providers, applied to CPS to form the school. It’s one of nearly 100 city schools formed under Renaissance 2010, the city’s 6-year-old plan to open innovative schools in poor neighborhoods.

Chicago-area hospitals had openings for more than 3,000 registered nurses as of March, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. They’re looking for hundreds more physical therapists, pharmacists, lab technicians, computer specialists and other professionals.

“The shortage of nurses and allied health professionals continues to exist, and it’s going to become a bigger problem,” said Kevin Scanlan, CEO of the health care council. “This is an innovative program that relies on hospitals to provide opportunities to students.”

Filed by Mike Colias of Crain’s Chicago Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.


What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


What is Earned Wage Access (EWA)? A Few Considerations

Summary Earned wage access (EWA) programs are an increasingly popular way for employees to access their...

benefits, earned wage access products, payroll, time and attendance

workforce blog


EEOC says that employers legally can offer incentives to employees to get vaccinated in almost all instances

If you’re an employer looking to get as many of your employees vaccinated as possible, you can rest eas...

ADA, CDC, COVID-19, EEOC, GINA, pandemic, vaccinated

workforce blog


Fixing some common misconceptions about HIPAA

Ever since the CDC amended its COVID-19 guidance to say that the fully vaccinated no longer need to wea...

COVID-19, health care, HIPAA, human resources, wellness