The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance (CWFA) collaborates with employers and other workforce stakeholders to create jobs, reduce unemployment and increase earnings for underprepared workers in the Chicago region. The Alliance was launched in May 2012 by five founding workforce funders: The Chicago Community Trust, The Joyce Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation and Polk Bros. Foundation. It has since been joined by Boeing, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, JP Morgan Chase, The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, Woods Fund of Chicago and Michael Reese Health Trust.
Structured as a funder collaborative at the Trust, the CWFA is a successor to The Partnership for New Communities and the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods. The CWFA will seek to build upon the lessons learned and relationships built by these previous initiatives while focusing its efforts on workforce impacts.
The work of the Alliance is built upon the recognition that a skilled workforce creates competitive advantage for regional economic development. This recognition has led the Alliance to identify five strategic priorities:
- Support for new and existing workforce partnerships in high-priority industry sectors that lead to higher earnings, credential attainment and career advancement for underprepared Chicago-area residents
- Aligning workforce development and economic development activities
- Policy and systems reform that facilitates access to and delivery of effective education and training
- Improvements to data collection, analysis and use leading to more efficient service delivery, high-quality services and better consumer information
- Workforce innovation