Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Project Description & Impact: Partial rehab and reuse of an old industrial building and partial new construction of an innovative high school focused on health and science that serves immigrant families from Chicago neighborhoods.

Client: Instituto del Progreso Latino

Financing Tools Used: New Markets Tax Credits, state and local grant dollars, construction and permanent financing from various lenders, and private funds


The Story Behind this Project

Instituto del Progreso Latino contributes to the fullest development of Latino immigrants and their families through education, training and employment that fosters full participation in the changing United States society while preserving cultural identity and dignity. Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (IHSCA) provides an education focused on preparing urban youth to succeed in competitive colleges and universities, obtain job-readiness certification for entry-level positions with higher wages in health care, and gain new awareness of and seek out a healthier lifestyle. This innovative high school focused on health and science serves families from Chicago neighborhoods like Pilsen, Little Village and other neighborhoods on the southwest side.

In 2016, IHSCA achieved a Level 1 rating from CPS recognizing it as a “high performance” school and “a good choice” for families and students. IHSCA students complete a rigorous curriculum with additional math and science requirements along with English and Spanish instruction all four years. In addition to classroom instruction, students participate in a number of unique career exploration activities including internship programs, experiential projects working with professionals in the field, guest speakers and more.

Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy offers a variety of supportive services, chief among them the in-depth guidance by IHSCA advisors and educators. Adivsors begin working with students during the required summer bridge program before 9th grade, then a dedicated team of advisors work with 9th and 10th grade students while another team works with the 11th and 12th grade students to build a trusting relationship and provide quality, tailored support. This new building not only serves as a school but also as a site for Instituto’s other top-notch education initiatives, making it more of a community education center than just a school–including ESL classes for adults at night and education and training programs to help prepare adults for high-wage careers in manufacturing and health care.