Red Lobster, Wicker Park’s Mirai Sushi, and Lincoln Park punk bar Delilah’s are three seemingly disparate venues. However, they have something in common—all three have hired graduates of American Professional Bartending Schools of Illinois to mix their drinks and man their bars. The schools have been landing graduates at notable Chicago establishments for more than 60 years, but their connection with alums doesn’t end with their first gig. Graduates receive lifetime, personalized job-placement assistance and can call the school’s career hotline 24 hours a day to find out about job openings or trade meatloaf recipes.
The schools' focus on employment also shows in their bartending classes, which are modeled after on-the-job training and led by teachers with an average of more than 20 years of industry experience. Taught at bars complete with realistic faux liquor, the sessions cover topics from mixology to presentation and etiquette.
From hanging out with Patrick Swayze as a dancer for Universal Studio's 10th anniversary of Dirty Dancing, and dancing in a VH1 special for the 20-year anniversary of Grease to winning the United Country Western Dance Council World Championship's Jack & Jill competition three times—Brian Wong has accomplished a lot in his 20-year career. Throughout these experiences, though, it's his ability to turn dancing novices into confident dancers that has given him the most pride. In service of this passion, Brian founded Chicago Dance Factory, where he and a team of instructors lead dance classes at spacious locations scattered throughout the greater Chicagoland area. Brian's teaching philosophy emphasizes syncing students' bodies with the so-called "heartbeat" of the music before they attempt any patterns or steps. Using this unique rhythm-based philosophy, Chicago Dance Factory's instructors teach students various dancing styles—ranging from pop-infused West Coast swing to elegant ballroom—that can be unleashed during a night out, at weddings, or in dance-infused gang fights.
Children are best equipped to develop analytical skills for current and future learning between the formative ages of 3.5 and 14. That's why Best Brains sets students off on the right foot by offering focused courses in subjects such as math, English, abacus, and general knowledge. Certified teachers help students develop skills in writing, grammar, critical thinking word problems, and basic computational math, using an abacus counting tool to help develop spatial memory.
In the late 1970s career educators Eileen and Raymond Huntington opened the first Huntington Learning Center in Oradell, New Jersey. Their goal was to take an individualized approach to education, adjusting instructional tactics according to each student's set of needs. Their success in helping K–12 students prepare for exams and improve grades and study skills quickly spawned franchises across New York and New Jersey.
Today, the certified Huntington tutoring staff utilizes testing and rubrics for assessing each child's skills, academic needs and potential for growth. The teachers even note the student's behavior in different testing and academic situations to craft a methodology sensitive to each child's learning style. Teachers also adhere to the company's code of ethics that stresses professionalism and confidentiality and encourages pupils to improve their grades honestly through dedicated study rather than shortcuts.
The Chicago White Sox have some truly dedicated fans. In 1994, the team decided to reach out to the youngsters who worshipped their footwear. They sought to provide kids with the same conditioning and training they honed their skills with, so they started a sports-training summer camp. In a mere seven years, demand for the trainers' services necessitated that the program conduct year-round sessions in all types of sports, and the Bulls/Sox Academy was born.
Taught by the trainers who spend their life making sure that the Sox and Bulls are ready to hit the field or court, Bulls/Sox Academy's lessons bring professional techniques to aspiring athletes. Baseball programs teach functional speed movements for high-speed base stealing and help kids build the upper-body strength to knock balls out of the park and through the windshield of their least favorite neighbor's minivan. The basketball course divvies up training between shooting, skills, and defensive play. The fast-pitch softball teachers—both former professional players and longtime coaches—arm students to beat back high-velocity pitches without hurting the ball's feelings.
Triple Check Techs is a trio of trained and certified technicians who have more than 20 years of experience in IT and computer repair. They'll gladly arrive onsite to fix, pick up, or drop off ailing machines—both Windows computers and Macs—that may be crashing, slow, or overrun with viruses. After performing appropriate diagnostics, they can the recommend a course of action, such as part replacement, system reinstallation, or defenestration. In addition to virus removal, computer security, and new system setup, they offer a slate of network services, setting up wireless or hard-wired networks. The team can also head off technological headaches by installing software and hardware and recovering and backing up data.