FY 2015
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A panoramic view of partnership

Lydia Murray

Associate, Deloitte LLP



My perspective on partnership with Civic Consulting Alliance might be unique. I've been an Associate Principal at Civic Consulting Alliance, a City client, a CTA client, and a County client, and I'm now a pro bono partner with Deloitte.


Last year, I leveraged Deloitte's extensive experience and capability in government performance improvement and service delivery to help develop then Governor-elect Rauner's Transition Committee report, which laid out a framework for governance and priorities for Illinois. Civic Consulting Alliance, Deloitte, and seven other pro bono partners contributed to the report, which was published in January 2015.


The scope of our opportunity to create change within state government really excited me. I also valued the chance to expand my knowledge of state government and to interact with other pro bono partners - more than 40 consultants on 12 teams in total worked in partnership on the transition effort.



Collaborating with my former colleagues at Civic Consulting Alliance reminded me of the impact of partnership and reinvigorated my dedication to civic improvement in Chicago and Illinois. Around the country, very few organizations like Civic Consulting Alliance exist that have such significant positive impact on state and local government.


I know this won't be the last time I partner with my friends at CCA to support government leaders who are working solving complex problems.


A new kind of story time at Chicago's libraries

In 2014, Civic Consulting Alliance and pro bono partners Bain & Company, The Greatest Good, and McKinsey & Company helped the Chicago Public Library develop a three-year Strategic Plan. Among the plan's recommendations, providing more services for families with special needs stood out as an important but unmet need. According to the CDC, one in five children nationally experiences a developmental disorder.


Following the Strategic Plan mandate, the Chicago Public Library recently launched its Sensory Story Time program to engage children with sensory processing issues such as autism spectrum disorders. Caregivers can now bring children age 5 and younger to open-attendance, hour-long story sessions conducted by a librarian in a safe space.



Books with popular themes are chosen. Activities with props and music stimulate involvement, and a visual schedule alerts children to what comes next. Stories are followed by interaction and play time, which build confidence as well as motor and social skills. The program has been enthusiastically received by parents and librarians.


"Sensory Story Time supports our Strategic Plan priorities for Chicago families with young children and is part of providing best-in-class programs and services to advance early childhood learning," said Brian Bannon, commissioner of the Chicago Public Library.

For more information, please contact Melanie Halvorson. 


Reinventing healthcare education at City Colleges

Pro bono partners


Oliver Wyman


Over the past three months, Civic Consulting Alliance, Oliver Wyman, and the City Colleges of Chicago have worked together to improve clinical (experiential) learning and student outcomes at Malcolm X College, where over 20 health profession pathways are being consolidated into a new, $251 million campus. Clinical studies compose half of the learning in the City Colleges health sciences program.


The team interviewed educators at Malcolm X and other institutions, health care organizations, and MBA programs for best practices to develop and support a clinical rotation strategy for 1,500 students and more than 150 pro bono educational partners that range from hospitals to community health centers. Employment prospects are strong for City Colleges' health sciences graduates: New jobs in related fields are expected to total 84,000 in the region in the next decade.


As part of the Colleges to Careers initiative, City Colleges has compounded the value of the project by using Malcolm X College and its health sciences consolidation as a model for aligning programs at the other six City Colleges with their respective College to Careers industry focus.


The project represents continued Civic Consulting Alliance partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago in a long-term collaboration to reinvent one of the largest community college systems in the nation.


For more information, please contact Steven Shaw.


In other news...

  • To improve food safety for Chicagoans by increasing the speed at which restaurant violations are uncovered, Civic Consulting Alliance and Allstate worked with the City's advanced analytics team and the Department of Public Health to create an innovative risk forecasting model. Since implementing the model, inspectors take seven fewer days to identify critical safety violations. The project's successes were recently reported in Governing magazine, WBEZ Chicago, the Washington Post, and Harvard's Data-Smart City Solutions website.
  • Following on the work of Civic Consulting Alliance and others to reduce the Cook County Jail population, Cook County will now receive a $150,000 planning grant from the MacArthur Foundation to help continue to reduce the number of nonviolent offenders in the jail. Pro bono partners A.T. Kearney and Mayer Brown have supported this work to reduce the jail population.
  • Over the past eight years, Civic Consulting Alliance and more than a dozen partners have helped to envision a new community college system for Chicago, and suggested the design and implementation of Reinvention, the nation's most ambitious community college reform effort. Recently, Chancellor Cheryl L. Hyman sat down with Bill Gates to talk about key learnings from the Reinvention effort, which to date has led to a doubling of the graduation rate at City Colleges of Chicago and the highest number of degrees awarded in the history of City Colleges-for three years in a row. For a look at their conversation, featured on Bill Gates's blog, click here. For two videos detailing the City Colleges Reinvention effort, click here.

Questions? Comments? Interested in writing a guest article? Please email Stuart Henige with any newsletter feedback.