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Supporting Job-Seekers Experiencing Homelessness: Best Practices for CoC & Workforce Board Engagement

September 17, 2016

The slides are from a presentation given at the Michigan Summit to End Homelessness in September 2016.

Workforce Development Report

October 1, 2009

The GO TO 2040 Project of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) provides a unique opportunity to step back and think about workforce development as a regional network or system and imagine how its role can be most effectively and efficiently deployed to contribute to the region's prosperity. While there are regional workforce development initiatives underway in the Chicago region, to our knowledge, "workforce development" as a system has not been analyzed for a regional plan for a metropolitan area the size of Chicago. It is also important to note that neither a defined regional workforce development political or administrative jurisdiction nor a regional administrative entity for workforce development has been a necessary precursor to any of the existing regional initiatives.The development of workforce development recommendations for the GO TO 2040 Project was intended both to build from current regional and local work, as well as to reorient the workforce system to play a stronger and more strategic role in the region. The workforce development system in the region does not have the same structures that other systems have. Moreover, the two groups of customers of the workforce development system -- individual jobseekers/workers and employers -- are neither homogenous categories nor do they respond to or interact with public policy or programs in a linear fashion.Trying to identify the strategies that need to be implemented by 2040 for the region's workforce development system was conducted within the context defined by heterogeneity of customers, localization of service delivery and the intersection of the workforce development system with other key systems -- namely education and economic development.We hope this report provides a workforce policy framework for the region that builds on successes, experience and opportunities. Fundamentally, the recommendations in this report call for cross-system coordination through key mechanisms that can advance and facilitate the implementation of career and education pathways that are both accessible to the region's workforce and adaptive to workforce needs of the region's employers that we expect will change over time.

Partnerships for Job Training and Economic Development: An Evaluation of Illinois' JTED Program

February 1, 2006

This evaluation demonstrates the effectiveness of Illinois' Job Training and Economic Development (JTED) program, as indicated by graduates' higher earnings and increased likelihood of employment. It also examines why JTED achieves such good results, describing its unique and important program elements, and takes a close look at six programs--providing program details and participant and employer perspectives.

Big Shoulders, Big Challenges: Preparing Chicago's Workforce for the New Economy

September 1, 2005

The report highlights the relationship between Chicago's future economic growth and the need for a skilled workforce. It documents approximately $283 million of public funds spent on workforce development activities in FY 2004 and finds that, despite a significant level of investment, not all populations or communities are receiving adequate workforce services. Several promising workforce strategies and initiatives are outlined that should be continued and expanded and recommendations are made regarding ways to improve Chicago's workforce system.

Accessing Skills Training Through Chicago's One Stop Centers and Affiliate Agencies

March 1, 2005

Getting into a training program is possible through the One Stop System (also sometimes called the Workforce Investment Act Program). But, eligibility is sometimes difficult to understand. The following information was developed to help individuals and others better understand the rules and requirements. (Published March 2003; updated August 2003, September 2004, and March 2005.)

Get the Facts! Public Benefits that Can Help You with Basic Living Costs

March 1, 2005

Provides basic information about Illinois' programsfor low-income individuals and families. It provides answers to common questions about benefits eligibility, application, receipt, and customer rights.

Making the Pieces Fit: A Plan for Ensuring a Prosperous Illinois

September 1, 2004

The prosperity of Illinois' families, communities and economy are inextricably linked. When families prosper, Illinois' tax base expands, public dependence declines, and local communities are stable and thrive. Illinois has a history of prosperity and a high standard of living. But we are facing challenges. Many working adults are not able to access jobs with family-supporting wages because they lack the education and skills training needed to advance. At the same time, many employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find the skilled employees they need. Both trends have a direct and negative impact on our economy and our communities. As we try to address these challenges as a state, we do so with extremely limited resources. More than ever, we must invest wisely, in ways that will yield the greatest returns. This requires a thorough analysis of how we distribute our resources, the policies that affect how they are used, and the outcomes for Illinois. To this end, the Women Employed Institute and the Chicago Jobs Council offer this report, which assesses how Illinois' workforce and economic development policies serve the needs of our families and the state as a whole. In this analysis we highlight Illinois' strengths as well as opportunities to better leverage our workforce and economic development dollars.

Ready? Set. Grow! A Starter's Guide for Becoming Culturally Competent

September 1, 2004

Workforce development organizations must recognize and value a diverse set of skills and abilities from their employees and job seekers and provide a workplace environment that is nurturing. CJC believes that creating a nurturing environment and addressing racial, ethnic, and other cultural issues, will lead to more productive workers and better opportunities and outcomes for job seekers. This guide is provided to assist you as you begin to explore diversity training and pursue the building of a more culturally competent organization.

Improving Our Response to Workforce Needs: Recommendations for Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

December 1, 2003

The Chicago Jobs Council (CJC) supports the concept of a system where job seekers of all skill levels and incomes as well as employers of all sizes and industry types can get the workforce development assistance they need. Developing public institutions that are free of categorical eligibility requirements and are alternatively driven by assessment of need is a long-term vision we promote. However, in the first couple of years of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) implementation, we have seen how the nation's most needy job seekers were negatively affected by the mandate that local areas create "universal access" without the necessary resources or capacity to do so. The lack of unified planning by federal and state agencies, the existence of misaligned program requirements and performance measures, entrenchment of state agencies, and significant budget crises at the state level have put WIA's universal access goal out of reach. Rather than supporting effective strategies that help job seekers with the fewest skills access career path employment and supporting needs of employers for qualified workers, time and funds have instead been poured into developing the infrastructure for local one stop systems that often do not meet their needs. Through reauthorization, we urge our congressional leaders to refocus WIA to achieve four primary goals: - Stable, quality employment for the chronically unemployed - Job advancement for low-wage adult workers entering the labor market - Skill attainment by low-income adults with limited education - Access to work experience, literacy and English as a Second Language instruction, high school or General Equivalency Degree (GED) completion, and post secondary education for low-income youth Employers will benefit equally from this refocusing. As baby boomers begin retiring and the global economy continues to produce widening skills and wage gaps, the public workforce development system must address the large population with limited academic, technological and vocational skills. Despite a downward-turned economy, many employers in several sectors such as health care and manufacturing report job openings that have gone unfilled because of a dearth of qualified candidates.

From Safety Net to Self Sufficiency: A CJC Proposal for a State Mixed Strategy Approach to Prepare TANF and Food Stamp Employment and Training Participants for Illinois' Skilled Workforce

November 1, 2003

Report details CJC's recommendation that Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) adopt a mixed strategy approach for Illinois' TANF and Food Stamp E&T programs. Features of this approach should include individualized assessment and employment planning; flexible combinations of education, training, life skills, and job search toward maximized job placement and career advancement; and necessary supportive services to address employment barriers and enhance family well-being. The Department must identify new local office performance measures and training which reorient services and service deliverers to success defined by skills attainment, wage placement, barrier reduction, and work support receipt. There is no better time than now to align IDHS TANF and Food Stamp work requirements along the continuum of workforce development system expectations so that participants have real access to employment services and real opportunities for family-sustaining employment. CJC is committed to working with the Department to imagine the implementation of a mixed strategy approach in Illinois and to achieve the best possible labor market results for Illinois' poor and working poor individuals and families, as well as Illinois' economy.

Investing, Improving, and Measuring Workplace Skills

November 1, 2003

Despite evidence that workplace literacy programs can be effective at improving the lives of workers and the bottom line of businesses, the lack of a dedicated funding source is likely to diminish the number and/or capacity of these programs significantly. Still, the growing skills gap facing the nation creates an ongoing imperative that the Congress and the federal government continue to fund strategies that are aimed specifically at upgrading the literacy and technical skills of the workforce. This paper describes some of the economic and demographic factors that impact program strategies; draws on recent research on promising programmatic and system strategies for concurrently addressing the needs of workers and businesses; and concludes with a set of recommendations for policymakers to consider that, if implemented, would support these strategies.

Illinois 2003 - Workforce and Economic Development: Investing in the Future of Illinois

October 1, 2003

The Chicago Jobs Council embarked upon this project -- aimed at documenting federal and state workforce development funding available in Illinois -- to assist policymakers and other stakeholders in making strategic investments to meet the needs of Illinois' job seekers, workers, and businesses, and ultimately to help achieve Governor Blagojevich's vision of ensuring Illinois'success in a New Economy. The inside funding streams map represents a snapshot of the workforce development funding that was available for Illinois' workforce in FY02. Due to federal and state budget realities,some of the appropriations amounts listed have been reduced, and changes in political leadership have resulted in some administrative and program changes. Overall, the map is a good reflection of Illinois' workforce development system today. The Chicago Jobs Council believes that workforce development funding should be charted on an annual basis - using this map as a framework - to help manage decisions about how to invest program dollars and fill program gaps for the neediest job seekers. The following list of the key elements needed to build a flexible and skilled workforce in Illinois was developed using the insight and the extensive experiences of CJC members in providing workforce services and evaluating workforce programs.