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The Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award

Juan Salgado, City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor

Growing up on Chicago’s Southwest Side and speaking only Spanish in a predominately African American community, Juan Sal- gado was forced to learn at an early age how to adapt to the challenges of working with diverse groups of people.

To overcome cultural and social barriers, Juan relied upon a keen ability to engage and listen to others. That helped him build relationships and forge new partnerships throughout a 20-year career dedicated to improving education and economic opportunities for people in low-to-moderate income communities.

From 2001 to 2017, Juan served as CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino, the non-profit organization that educates and empowers Latino immigrants through a series of ongoing adult programs, including literacy classes, pathways to citizenship, childcare and employee development that encourage and support upward mobility.

Under his leadership, Instituto launched the Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (IHSCA) that has become widely recog- nized for its year-round learning and emphasis on a math and science curriculum. Today it continues to provide a safe learning environment for children while encouraging them to explore careers in healthcare, a growing industry where there are job opportunities, but few Latinos. Under his tutelage leadership, IHSCA served more than 700 low-income students and its inaugural graduation class experienced a 95% college acceptance rate, including 132 first-generation of college students, and $4.5 million awarded in scholarships.

The success of IHSCA prompted Juan to open another high school, The Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy with a separate mission: to re-engage 16 to 21 year old students who previously dropped out of school, many of whom no longer lived with their parents and were parents themselves. By 2015, Juan’s vision and success in education were instrumental in garnering a prestigious “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Foundation and two years later, being appointed City Colleges Chancellor. Today, Juan is ensuring more than 80,000 students from across seven colleges have the tools they need to prepare for life’s challenges and opportunities.

“Juan knows the importance – not just for the city, but for the students of not just getting another two years’ of education, but also of working toward a job and a career,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

For his leadership in higher learning and community building that have created sustainable employment opportunities and improved so many lives, Juan Salgado is this year’s Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods.