|Workforce Grants: Year at a glance|
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Funding Opportunity: Job training and placement programs
Chicago is the fourth largest metropolitan region in North America and the third largest in the United States. It is home to two-thirds of Illinois’ population and jobs. As an international city, Chicago will continue to grow, attract people, support multiple industries and experience demographic shifts over the next few decades.
Despite Chicago’s strengths, the region’s slow recovery from recession has meant continuing high unemployment and increased structural unemployment, which together point to the need for retraining, skill flexibility, and better labor force matching. Continuing globalization, weakening of organized labor and pervasive technological change will intensify those demands. Such trends will put a premium on educational attainment beyond the high school level and require that workers learn new skills multiple times over the course of their careers. The region’s current workforce system is inefficient, allowing lags between employer needs and supply readiness. Another problem is the mismatch between job opportunities and housing.
To develop a workforce that is skilled, productive and competitive in this environment, leaders in the Chicago area need to bring workforce systems and strategies to a new level. Required are regional analysis, coordination and flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing needs of employers and individuals. Also needed are accessible “on ramps” to careers as well as education for the least skilled individuals. Programs must prepare workers to contribute to the productivity of employers; evaluation must account for programs’ net effect on the local economy as well as on individual clients.
Grant making in Workforce supports Community Goal #1: Advancing opportunities for human and economic development.
The Trust seeks to reduce unemployment and poverty in the Chicago region through implementation of a number of workforce development principles and strategies. These include supporting job training and placement programs that generate economically sound benefits including:
- Skill training and job placements are made with industries expected to be sustained or grow with the new economy.
- Individuals are placed in employment positions with livable wages.
- Workforce training and development systems feature clear economic goals and system performance measures.
- Clients who enter the labor market with the help of intermediaries do not displace other job seekers.
- Job trainees obtain enduring, transferrable skills.
- Workforce programs are linked to employer location decisions and enhance firm productivity.
Requests for Proposals
This request for proposals is now open. Proposals are due by January 3, 2014. Find full details and begin your application
Please direct all inquiries to Jim Lewis, Senior Program Officer at