Illinois Tech and City Year Join Forces to Offer Young Adults Business School Credits

Alumni of City Year’s national service program will be able to receive three hours of credit toward an MBA or MPA at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Stuart School of Business


City Year volunteers

CHICAGO—December 11, 2023—Building on a long relationship, Illinois Institute of Technology and the education nonprofit City Year have formed a partnership that allows City Year AmeriCorps alumni to get a head start on their graduate-level education with Stuart School of Business. Starting in Spring 2024, young adults who complete a year of service with City Year can receive three hours of credit to go toward a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) or Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.).

“City Year’s dedication to community service and development aligns perfectly with our mission at Stuart School of Business, and I couldn’t be happier to be forming this alliance with them,” said Liad Wagman, the John and Mae Calamos Dean of Stuart School of Business. “Through this partnership, we are not only recognizing the valuable contributions of City Year AmeriCorps members, but also paving new pathways for educational and professional advancement. At Illinois Tech and Stuart, we are committed to student success through innovation, access and inclusivity in education, experiential learning, and developing purpose-driven professionals, and this collaboration is a prime example of how we can integrate real-world experiences into academic and career success.”

City Year alumni are eligible to earn credit for one three-hour academic course to use toward an M.B.A. or M.P.A. for their service experience. Students are eligible for credit through Illinois Tech’s credit-by-proficiency process, reflecting the skills City Year alumni acquire in the real world during their year of service, working alongside classroom teachers to support student learning.

“We are so grateful to Illinois Institute of Technology to join us as our first National University Partner offering college credit for City Year service,” said Laura Kazanovicz, Senior Director of National Alumni Impact, City Year Headquarters. “Offering credit for service is a fantastic approach to acknowledging the way in which service is a valuable part of one's learning experience and accelerates our alums' path to graduation from higher education.”

An AmeriCorps program, City Year recruits, trains and places young adults, ages 17 to 25, in systemically under-resourced schools to serve as “student success coaches,” assisting teachers in the classroom, tutoring students one-on-one and in small groups, and promoting students’ social and emotional development. Founded in Boston in 1988, City Year AmeriCorps members now serve across 29 U.S. cities, with more than 40,000 alumni who continue to make a difference where they live and work.

“City Year Chicago is excited about the partnership with Illinois Tech and to see Chicago institutions invest in our own,” said Dr. LaCael Palmer-Pratt, City Year Chicago’s managing director of partnerships and civic engagement. “When postsecondary institutions acknowledge and value the service of AmeriCorps members in this way, they're helping to not only advance the skill development and education of these young adults, but also the collective success of our community.”

Jesus Ayala Jr., a graduate of both Stuart and City Year, praised both institutions and credited them for helping set him on the path to his current position, Chief of Program Strategy and Operations at the Chicago educational nonprofit MetroSquash.

“When I went back to direct service work, I felt like I had a lot more confidence and competency, especially in the nonprofit space, after my time with City Year and at Stuart. I was a much better coordinator, and I got to the point where I was more helpful in coaching the coaches,” Ayala Jr. said.

Through City Year, Ayala served at Gage Park High School on Chicago’s Southwest Side in 2015. He had a great experience and still keeps in touch with many of those students, and his time there inspired him to seek more skills in the education space. He enrolled in Stuart’s M.P.A. program, where he developed key relationships with professors and fellow students, learned about public policy through case studies and challenging projects with real-world applications, and was able to secure an internship at City Hall and later a mayoral fellowship.

“I recommend anyone wanting to continue in this space, whether it’s nonprofit or education, to seek more education, engage with your peers and professors, and seek more opportunities and real-world experience,” Ayala Jr. said. “It’s not a passive experience.”

Illinois Institute of Technology

Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the power of collective difference to advance technology and progress for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the living lab of the city, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit

Stuart School of Business

Stuart School of Business, a prestigious institution with a history dating back to the late 1890s, is the only business school in Chicago located within a tech-focused university, uniquely bridging business and technology. Offering rigorous, applied programs in analytics, finance, economics, marketing, and management for undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree-seeking students, Stuart prioritizes career readiness by providing abundant opportunities for internships, career placement, experiential learning, and networking through its connections in the global business and financial center of Chicago. Over its 125-year journey, business education at Illinois Tech has been consistently refined through curricular innovations and foundational scholarly works.

City Year

City Year is a trailblazing, youth-powered organization with a dual mission: expanding educational equity for students furthest from opportunity and developing diverse leaders through national service. Research shows the more time a student spends with a City Year AmeriCorps member serving as student success coach, the better the student outcomes—academically, socially, and emotionally. A public-private partnership, City Year is a proud member of AmeriCorps, operating in 29 U.S. cities with international affiliates in the U.K. and South Africa. Today, 40,000 alums continue to lead and serve where they live and work. Learn more about City Year’s six areas of impact:

Media contacts

Kevin Dollear
Communications Manager
Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 773-860-5712