Switching careers is hard, especially in a challenging economy. But through a two-year City Colleges of Chicago program at Dawson Technical Institute, 39-year-old Bronzeville resident Edgar Dunbar is moving into a new career in construction management after years working in the warehouse and rail industries.
He's doing more than just hitting the books—Edgar is currently learning on the job as an intern at a globally recognized construction management firm at work on a multi-million dollar project that will benefit the entire city. He was recently selected for a paid internship at the international firm Jacobs Project Management Co., where he's gaining real-world skills by helping to plan construction of the new Malcolm X College campus, across the street from the current campus on Chicago’s West Side. The three-month internship began in December 2012.
Edgar's co-workers at Jacobs’ Loop office are treating him like a colleague. “There’s no question this is a professional environment,” says Edgar, who's on track to graduate this year from Dawson, part of Kennedy-King College, with an associate's in applied science degree in construction management. “I feel like part of the team, and it’s hands-on. The things I’ve been learning in books, this is putting them in action.” He plans on transferring into a four-year engineering program after graduating from City Colleges.
The new Malcolm X College campus is a centerpiece of City Colleges' College to Careers initiative, which aims to close the city's skills gap by partnering leading companies with City Colleges to align occupational programs with demand in growing fields like healthcare and IT. Groundbreaking on the construction site is planned for early 2014.
“I was thoroughly impressed with all the candidates I interviewed from Dawson Tech, but Edgar’s eagerness to learn stood out,” said Mohummed Siddiqi, an executive project manager at Jacobs who supervises Dunbar.
To learn more about City Colleges’ nationally-recognized College to Careers initiative, and how Malcolm X College’s new campus supports it, go here