For educators and students, 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges. As the year draws to a close, we highlight CME Group Foundation grantee organizations and scholarship recipients who have shown impressive resilience, strength, and creativity in a unique environment. Particularly, as we kick off Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 7-13, 2020), CME Group Foundation is proud to support expanding computer science and STEM education in our community.

CME Group Foundation Scholars: Alumni Spotlight

In 2019, CME Group Foundation established a scholarship for college students studying finance or technology. While many scholarships are aimed at helping freshmen start college, the CME Group Foundation Scholars Program is targeted to ensure underrepresented minority sophomores, juniors, and seniors can finish their four-year degree. Winners can reapply for up to three years of support.

The program awards the students with an annual scholarship of $20,000. Foundation Scholars also have the opportunity to attend career panels, network with CME Group employees, and learn about internship opportunities. Many Scholars go on to intern or work full-time for CME Group.

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Chicagoland Career Pathways Helps More than 5,000 Users in First Year

Drawing on the expertise of stakeholders across the city ‒ including funders like CME Group Foundation, youth-serving organizations like Chicago Public Schools, Community Colleges of Chicago, program providers, state organizations, and many other groups ‒ Chicagoland Career Pathways was launched in January 2020 to address the information and access gap surrounding training programs that do not require a Bachelor’s degree as an on-ramp to employment.

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Chicago College and Career Advising Credential (CCCAC) offers youth-centered coaching strategies

While providing more information about post-secondary options is necessary to help youth gain access to high-quality postsecondary choices, educating young people about opportunities is also key for them to pursue the pathways that are right for them and achieve greater long-term success. Thus, in February 2020, the Chicago College and Career Advising Credential (CCCAC) was launched by the Chicago Jobs Council (Jobs Council) ‒ a non-profit organization that moves people out of poverty through employment using on-the-ground expertise, advocacy, and capacity-building, and has a 16-year history of providing trainings for workforce professionals through its Frontline Focus Training Institute.

CCCAC focuses on youth-centered coaching strategies for progressive post-secondary pathway options (i.e. apprenticeships, college, job training, military, and service/gap year). The credential is aimed at a wide range of youth guides, including adults who work with youth in schools, organizations, and communities.

In January 2021, applications will open for an online version of CCCAC.

For more details about the training and application process, please visit the CCCAC site or contact Program Manager Dana Horstein at or +1 312 252 0460.

STEAMbassadors Program Picking Up Steam

Northwestern University professor Nichole Pinkard received a CME Group Foundation grant to launch an ambitious science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) mentor training program for young adults from underrepresented communities.

The STEAMbassadors initiative lays the groundwork for careers in education or youth development by training two- and four-year college students to work with middle school-aged children in STEAM-related subjects.

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New Study Shows Trends in Chicago Computer Science Education

In 2013, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) led the nation in the expansion of computer science (CS) education with the CS for All (CS4ALL) initiative, a CME Group Foundation grantee organization, and later made computer science a graduation requirement.

A new study from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago analyzes results from the expansion of computer science programs in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high schools using data from more than 311,000 students in 108 CPS high schools between 2014-2018.

The study found enrollment in CS courses increased for all students, regardless of race, gender, and socioeconomic status, after the adoption of the graduation requirement. However, the rate of increase differed across student groups, largely related to differences in access to CS courses.

Key findings include:

  • Access to CS increased steadily following the announcement of the CS4All initiative; by 2018, more than 90 percent of students attending CPS high schools were enrolled in a high school that offered at least one CS course.
  • Black students are the most likely student group to take computer science courses when access is available.
  • Female students are less likely than male students to take computer science courses, even within schools offering CS. This enrollment rate difference widened even after the increased access to a computer science curriculum.

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New Study Finds Broad Support for Early Math Teaching Credential in Illinois

As many students and teachers adjust to a virtual learning environment, the change has highlighted the importance of one area that should be a priority for school districts and organizations supporting education: elementary math education. Research shows that effective early math instruction is critical in laying the foundation for future success.

One key component is professional development for elementary school teachers. Recently, CME Group Foundation supported a research study by UChicago STEM Center on the need for new teaching credentials for Illinois elementary school teachers who would like to earn a specialty in teaching mathematics.

The study reveals that statewide, about 85% of Illinois school district leaders and about 90% of school leaders indicated that the state of Illinois should offer the elementary mathematics teacher and specialist certification credentials.

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CME Group Foundation 2020 Year in Review

As we close out the year, take a look at CME Group Foundation’s 2019-2020 highlights and key results.





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