National Latino Education Institute, (NLEI) is a not-for-profit community service agency that was founded in 1972. The organization evolved from an advocacy group formed in the late 60s by several community leaders who decided to challenge major employers in the city who consistently failed to hire qualified Hispanic applicants. Today, we are a provider of quality employment training and placement services. 

Each year NLEI places hundreds of job seekers in industrial, clerical and professional positions with over 300 companies and directly trains and places over 200 students annually. Additionally, NLEI provides basic adult education and English as a Second Language classes to hundreds of adults. 

Over the years, NLEI has formed strong partnerships with many of Chicago’s leading businesses. As employers, such businesses have found that NLEI has provided them with applicants who have the training and positive attitude required to compete successfully in today’s market. The following is a chronology of major points in historical development of NLEI and its programs. 



1972 – SCJ is incorporated; purchase of Kowalski Funeral Home at 1737 West 18th Street and official operation as Spanish Coalition for Jobs, Inc. begins. 
– First affirmative action agreement reached with major corporate employers.

1974 – Agreement initiated with Mayor’s Office of Manpower to ensure Hispanic agencies get fair share of CETA funds. 

1975 – SCJ adds direct service delivery through CETA contracts for: On-the-Job Training, Placement & Retention, Public Service Employment, and Work Experience Program. 

1978 – Classroom training programs started for clerk-typists and accounting clerks. 

1979 – SCJ forms the Latino Council on the Media (LCOM) to advocate for Hispanic employment at all levels within the media. LCOM sponsors an annual conference in which all major networks participate to discuss various issues and employment opportunities. LCOM is also the leader in the Chicago effort in organizing Hispanic Heritage Month that was celebrated for the first time in 1990. 

1981 – Word Processing classroom training begins. 

1984 – SCJ purchases 40,000 square foot building located at Pershing Road to establish a citywide training facility. 

1985 – The Electromechanical Training Program begins to train participants in the repair of copier machines, typewriters, etc. 

– Youth Career Awareness Program starts. 
– IBM donates 70 typewriters for classroom training inclusive of maintenance and supplies.

1988 – SCJ starts a customized training program with various downtown employers known as the Advanced Office Occupation Training Program. 

– IBM donates 30 personal computers and 24 printers for training programs inclusive of maintenance. 
– SLIAG (Immigration Reform) classes begin at SCJ’s 18th street location in various Adult Education topics such as ESL, Literacy, etc. Through completion of a certain number of hours of classes, participants become eligible for U.S. residency. 

1989 – Mary Gonzalez-Koenig, the Agency’s founder and Executive Director is appointed in May by Mayor Richard M. Daley to the position of Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training (MET) and leaves SCJ to take on her new challenge. 

– SCJ starts counseling support services for ALL training programs. 

– SCJ acquires 15 IBM compatible computers for staff use in order to automate day-to-day operations. 

1992 – SCJ is licensed as a business school providing the ability to offer financial aid directly to students. 

– The Business Advisory Council comprised of representatives from top Chicago corporations is created. The name was later changed to Business Leadership Council to more accurately reflect their role and expectations. 

1993 – Obtained funding from the Illinois State Board of Education to conduct English as a Second Language (ESL), Citizenship, and Pre-vocational Training. 

1994 – SCJ becomes a nationally accredited business school. 

1995 – Approved as a Qualified Training Vendor for the Illinois Employment and Training Centers (IETC) and the President’s Office of Employment Training (POET), Cook County. 

1998 – Became one of only ten Welfare-to-Work subcontractors for the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (MOWD) in the City of Chicago. 

1999 – Created the Medical Consortium to design and implement industry-demanded Medical Programs. 

2000 – Selected as an affiliate of the One-Stop System to provide Core and Intensive Services under the new Workforce Investment Act (WIA) legislation. 
– Certified and a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Training Service Provider to receive Individual Training Accounts from One-Stop Centers. 

2001 – Successfully launched the Dr. Assir Daniel DaSilva Bilingual Medical Assistant training program. 

2004 – Launched Community Technology Center (CTC) with Trad-celo Ahora! translation software available to students, clients and the community at large. 

2004 – The Dr. Assir Daniel DaSilva Bilingual Medical Assistant training program received accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) on the recommendation of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) making the program one of only three CAAHEP certified programs in Chicago and the only one offering specialized bilingual training. 

2005 – Launched the Customer Service and Sales vocational training program in an effort to train qualified individuals for service and sales jobs that are high in demand – especially for those with bilingual/bicultural backgrounds. 

2006 – SCJ was recognized as an Honor Roll Institution by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and School (ACICS) for demonstrating exemplary standards and received the highest grant of accreditation without deferral. 

2007 – SCJ completes a 5 year project to construct a much needed parking lot at the Pershing location; offering increased safety and improvement of public outdoor space. 

2008 – SCJ officially changes its name to NLEI to reflect the community we serve and the belief that education is a catalyst to success.