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    Date submitted
  • 07-Aug-2012

Cornerstone Chicago


Cornerstone Chicago Center for Arts and Technology (CCCAT) is a training startup that will transform 4 westside and 19 low-moderate income Chicago communities by providing free skills training and a comprehensive set of social services that will increase college matriculation, economic development and skilled employment, in the targeted neighborhoods. Based on a 40-year-old model developed by Bill Strickland, Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC), in Pittsburgh, the program is built on three pillars – After-school arts programs for youth; Adult education and job training in an environment that inspires success--- that is now being replicated around the country and internationally. CCCAT staff with a board and advisory committee that includes world class entrepreneurs and social innovators, employers, government, schools, faith-based and community-based organizations, and other stakeholders will raise the funds needed to build and operate the Center. CCCAT's impacts will include attracting businesses, increased public safety, and higher incomes in the target communities; creating a new pool of skilled workers, increased global competitiveness and reduction of critical skills shortages for employers; and increased performance and results for government, foundations and other stakeholders who spend $368 million annually to fund the public workforce development and job training programs, in the Chicagoland area.


Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Employers facing critical skills shortages; low-skill jobseekers who need training, supportive services and access to employers; and government agencies, foundations, and other stakeholders who fund workforce development and job training programs

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Many key regional employers in healthcare, manufacturing, distribution/logistics, information technology and food services are facing shortages of skilled workers. Many low skill jobseekers are unable to find jobs or careers because they lack the skills or experience employers are now seeking. The 4 target communities have 12,000 unemployed residents. CCCAT will address these needs by providing nationally accredited skills training, placement services acting as an intermediary for employers and jobseekers.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

CCCAT works closely with employers to develop training that is based on their needs. It is based on a successful 40-year-old model developed in Pittsburgh by Bill Strickland and Manchester Bidwell Corporation that provides arts and technology training, in economically disadvantaged communities--- that is now being replicated around the country and internationally. Major corporations, world class entrepreneurs, foundations and other stakeholders are investing in and bringing Bidwell Training Centers to their communities because of their high performance retaining students and placing them in careers related to the training they received.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

CCCAT will combine an experienced management team; a strong board and advisory committee which includes Bill Strickland and Manchester Bidwell Corporation and local business, government, community and education leaders; and support from Lawndale Christian Development Corporation to develop strong relationships with key companies and leaders in healthcare, horticulture and manufacturing industries. With employers and other stakeholders it will develop training programs that in addition to skills training can provide a comprehensive set of services needed to help low skill workers overcome the multiple barriers to employment they often face; and will help employers compete more effectively by working with them to address their critical skills shortages. Being located in the community where the jobseekers live, CCCAT will be able to more quickly response to employers and jobseekers with a wider range of services, than other training organizations.