University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456,

December 20, 1999 Contact:Jeffron Boynés (312) 413-8702,
  Loomis Mayfield (312) 996-7194,


The University of Illinois at Chicago recently announced a partnership with the City of Chicago, Near West Side and Pilsen community leaders to create a specialized institute to train qualified area residents to become home child-care service owners and operators in these neighborhoods.

As part of its neighborhood outreach, UIC Neighborhoods Initiative, together with the Marcy-Newberry Association, the City of Chicago Department of Human Services and Malcolm X College, has established the West Side Consortium Training Institute for Family Child Care Home Providers.

"Our ability to prepare individuals for success in the child care business will greatly impact the Near West Side and Pilsen neighborhoods, as well as benefit the City of Chicago with its welfare reform initiatives," said Loomis Mayfield, coordinator for UIC Neighborhoods Initiative and one of the institute's directors. He further explained that a public housing survey done by the university's Center for Urban Economic Development, which cited child care as the top career choice and top support service needed by residents, was key to the institute's creation and launch.

For the next three years, the institute - funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Chicago Department of Human Services and the Methodist Women's Association - will hold classes at Malcolm X College, the primary training provider. UIC's City Design Center, along with its Center for Urban Economic Development, was instrumental in program and concept development, and design of the educational setting.

Up to 90 qualified residents will participate each year in the 20-week training program. Classes, which are free to those who meet eligibility requirements, will be held for eight hours each week.

The overall mission of the institute, according to Mayfield, is to provide community residents with the necessary training to become Early Head Start Enhanced home day-care providers operating within an agency network. "Collectively, we established this institute because of the wide range of resources we can provide in terms of knowledge, skill, research and teaching," he said.

Training will focus on workplace literacy, study skills, licensing orientation, and computers, as well as infant health, physical, nutritional and safety needs in a home care setting. Each participant may receive college credits and enough skills to own and operate a home child-care business upon successful completion of training. Advanced training, available through Malcolm X, will include courses toward an associate's degree.

Members of the West Side Consortium Child Care Committee include:

  • Benjamin Kendrick, executive director of the Marcy-Newberry Association, West Side Consortium chair
  • Rev. Robert Strom, director of the Near West Community Program for the Executive Service Corps of Chicago, West Side Consortium director of economic development
  • Feranda Williamson, dean of the Division of Continuing Education, Malcolm X College
  • Ruby Smith, director, Chicago Department of Human Services - Children Services Division
  • Loomis Mayfield, coordinator of the UIC Neighborhoods Initiative

The UIC Neighborhoods Initiative is a partnership between the University of Illinois at Chicago and organizations in two neighborhoods adjacent to the university, Pilsen and the Near West Side.

The purpose of the UIC Neighborhoods Initiative is to strengthen the qualities of life in the neighborhoods for the benefit of residents, businesses, the university and other institutions. The results of past partnerships have led to more affordable housing, after-school activities, improved physical and mental health services, improved educational resources, increased employment and redevelopment of commercial areas.

In October 1999, UIC Neighborhoods Initiative was named one of the Nation's 100 Best Practices by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The initiative was categorized as an organization or project that made outstanding and innovative use of HUD assistance to better serve families and communities in Illinois.

With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of only 88 Research I universities. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.

For more information on the UIC Neighborhoods Initiative or the West Side Consortium Training Institute, contact Loomis Mayfield at (312) 996-7194; email For information on enrollment in the institute, call (312) 996-0663.


Copyright © 1999 by B&P Consulting, Inc. and University of Illinois at Chicago. All rights reserved.
News Bureau home Campus Forum Weekly Advisory Experts Guide News Bureau Staff News Tips Index News Bureau home