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+ ACI Awarded Matching Grant for ‘Career Leaders Program’ Launching in 2021
+ ACI Welcomes Rob Johnson to Board of Trustees
+ Publicity Club of Chicago Presents Silver Award to ACI’s Annual Report

ACI Awarded Matching Grant for ‘Career Leaders Program’ Launching in 2021
CIC funds to be awarded when ACI achieves 2:1 match
Oct. 22, 2020

The Council of Independent Colleges, Washington, D.C.

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Washington, D.C. has committed $18,000 to help fund ACI’s Career Leaders Program, expected to launch in fall 2021. The program is “a collaborative program designed to provide underserved, high-achieving college seniors with a year of comprehensive training and support in developing business, social, and leadership skills,” according to ACI’s grant application. Students will use those skills to secure entry-level positions leading to meaningful careers, the application said.

In addition to training and support, each participant in the ACI Career Leaders Program will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship to help fill financial gaps on the way to graduation.

ACI’s proposal was funded through a First Opportunity Partners grant from CIC, with support from the UPS Foundation. CIC’s financial commitment is contingent upon ACI raising an additional $36,000 by spring 2021.

“The Career Leaders Program is a logical next step that integrates ACI’s College-to-Career initiatives into one program for the benefit of students enrolled at ACI’s colleges and universities,” said Mick Weltman, ACI executive director. These initiatives include ACI’s Skills for Work, Skills for Life Boot Camps, ACI’s Career Development Conference and Expo and the ACI Career Mentoring Program, which launched this fall. A fourth initiative, paid micro-internships through ACI’s partner, Parker Dewey, completes the Career Leaders Program, he said.

Each of the career initiatives has achieved excellent attendance rates, Weltman said. More than 60 students have attended boot camps, nearly 300 participants attended career development conferences, 34 students have obtained paid work experiences through micro-internships, and about 20 senior executives and civic leaders are mentors to students this fall.

Each ACI member institution will select one underserved, high-achieving senior to participate in the Career Leaders Program. Chloe Overstreet, ACI student board member from Eureka College, will serve as the program advisor and student liaison.

For more information about contributing to ACI’s Career Leaders Program, contact Executive Director Weltman at or 312-263-2391, ext. 1.

ACI Welcomes Rob Johnson to Board of Trustees
Oct. 22, 2020

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Rob Johnson

The newest member of the ACI Board of Trustees is Rob Johnson, president of Rob Johnson Communications, a Chicago strategic communications firm specializing in internal and external communications strategy, marketing and branding, message and media training, crisis management, business networking, and public and media relations, DEI training, and has produced virtual shareholder and company meetings for his valued clients.

Recently Johnson ran internal and external communications on a Covid Task Force for a firm as it dealt with these unique issues, even producing and hosting a number of webinars.

Johnson is also active on the boards of Special Olympics Illinois and Concussion Legacy Foundation. As a supporter of many not-for-profits, Rob has also helped several such organizations produce and host virtual fundraisers.

Prior to starting his own firm, Johnson was an Emmy Award-winning television news anchor and reporter at two Chicago TV stations for more than 20 years. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana.

With Johnson’s addition, the ACI Board of Trustees includes 35 corporate members, plus the presidents of ACI’s 26 member colleges and universities.

Publicity Club of Chicago Presents Silver Award to ACI’s Annual Report
Sept. 23, 2020

The Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) presented a Silver Award Sept. 10 to ACI for the organization’s 2018-2019 Annual Report.

The award to ACI was part of the PCC’s annual Golden Trumpet Awards program. Because of the pandemic, this year’s awards program was an online event.

Established in 1941, the PCC is Chicago’s largest independent public relations organization.

ACI’s 2018-2019 Annual Report was previously recognized by the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Chicago chapter. The PRSA Chicago chapter presented ACI an Award of Excellence for the annual report.


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