Carthage College is starting a program for students to live, learn and work in Chicago for a semester.
Officials aim to have 20 students take part in the program, called Carthage in Chicago.
They would attend classes taught by Carthage faculty and work as an intern at a Chicago-area company or produce an academic project, all while residing in the city, said Thomas Kline, Carthage associate vice president for strategic initiatives.
Carthage is negotiating with a Chicago location that would house the students and offer space for them to attend classes.
All of the arrangements are expected to be ready by spring. The first students in the program would take part during the fall 2014 semester.
Some 26 students have applied for the program. Interviews of applicants begin in this month.
Kline said the college will select the students for the program after review of their academic records, faculty references and other information. Enrollment preference would be given to juniors and seniors.
Internships, probably between 16 and 25 hours weekly, might be paid, depending on what the company offers, and could be in fields of business, communications, public relations and non-profits.
Carolynn Friesch, Carthage director of internships and employer relations, said students want job experiences to help them explore career fields. They’ll also have opportunities to start networking with possible employers and bolster their resumes, she said.
Students in the city should have enough time for academics despite intern duties because they won’t be involved with campus extracurricular activities, Friesch said.
“The program means they probably also won’t be as scared of big cities,” she said. “When they move to a big city, they’ll already have some experiences that will make for an easier transition to the workaday world.”
Students’ safety is paramount, Kline said. The site that might house them has security guards and key card access to the building and rooms. Carthage also would include safety issues as part of the students’ orientation.
Classes — yet to be chosen — for the new program likely would be offered in the evening. Faculty members have submitted proposals for the courses, which might include politics, museums, architecture and fine/performing arts, using resources available in the city as much as possible, Kline said.
Kline said many Carthage faculty live and/or were educated in Chicago and have area resources and contacts to include in the program.
Kline, who worked with Carthage President Gregory Woodward while they were at Ithaca College in New York, said that school had a similar program.
“We saw the way that students who participated in that program were changed, that they had a more informed academic life after they returned to campus,” he said. “To have that experience to rely on when applying for jobs after graduation is very powerful.
“Ultimately, this is all about students, but it also allows Carthage to have a deeper relationship with this amazing resource, less than an hour away, in a more meaningful way.”
The new program will be outlined at a Wednesday reception in downtown Chicago.
The free 5:30 p.m. session, at The Gage Restaurant, 24 S. Michigan Ave., is for alumni, employers, parents and others. Registration can be completed online at www.carthage.edu/alumni, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-551-1518.
Here are some details about the program, called Carthage in Chicago:
— Internships would be at sites such as Satori Energy, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, the Schaumburg Boomers Baseball Team, Bridges Court Reporting, Northlight Theatre, the Music Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium and Red Frog Events.
— Tuition is the same in the program as for on-campus studies, but room and board costs might be more because housing in Chicago is more costly.
— Carthage wants all students in the program to live at the same location because of the benefit of sharing experiences and having an immediate, supportive community of peers.
— Living in a big city has cultural benefits as well as helping young people grow into the responsibilities of living in a larger community, including handling public transportation, which could be needed to get to and from internships.