At a visit to a prominent architecture firm in downtown Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley announced Monday nearly half a million dollars in grants to support the school system's Chinese language and culture programs.
"The world is getting smaller," the mayor said at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. "We have to prepare our students for this global community. We cannot allow them to be left behind."
The grant money will come in part from Motorola and the Wanxiang Company of Hangzhou, an auto parts manufacturer. Those grants will pay for Chicago Public Schools students to travel to China during summers to study the Chinese language. Two federal government initiatives, Startalk and the National Security Language Initiative for Youth, will pay for CPS students to study domestically, according to a press release from the mayor's office.
Daley made the announcement on the heels of a trip to mainland China and Hong Kong, where he promoted business partnerships between Chicago and China. Wanxiang already has offices in Rockford, Elgin and Chicago.
He also announced that the State Department has named him a co-chair of the "100,000 Strong" federal initiative of which the grant money is a part, a program that aims to send more American students to China.
Watch NBC Chicago's video coverage of Daley's announcement:
View more videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com.