Grant support will expand workforce training and increase access to inclusive employment opportunities
CHICAGO – As the Chicago region prepares for an influx of federal resources to recover from the pandemic and modernize our infrastructure, seven grants worth $2.5 million will create a more inclusive workforce by preparing and connecting Black and Latinx workers with the quality, resilient employment opportunities that will be created as the region prepares to put federal funding to work.
The grant funding is part of We Rise Together: For an Equitable and Just Recovery’s work to accelerate equitable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will allow nonprofit partners to provide workforce training, job training and support services that will eliminate barriers to Black and Latinx people seeking employment.
According to ESMI data, 57% of skilled-trade workers in the Chicago region are nearing retirement. Several of the grants will be used to prepare Black and Latinx workers to enter the trades, which will be in increasing demand as Chicago is poised to receive nearly $1.4 billion in federal infrastructure funding over the next several years.
“With the influx of federal resources to make critical investments in our infrastructure we have an opportunity to eliminate barriers and pave a path to a more inclusive and thriving workforce,” said Gloria Castillo, director, We Rise Together: For an Equitable and Just Recovery. “Increasing access to education, skills development, and career advancement will broaden opportunities for workers of color to contribute to and benefit from our recovery efforts.”
Grant funding will support the following initiatives:
Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership will hire additional staff, train new partners and deploy a new mobile unit to expand workforce services to more places and people across Chicago and Cook County, enabling more effective use of federal funding.
Revolution Workshop will provide construction skills training for non-union work with wrap-around services to ensure job placement and retention.
Chicago Urban League will focus on job readiness training, placement and retention services in emerging and high-growth industries such as solar, transportation and pharmacy.
HIRE360 will expand strategies to encourage greater diversity in Chicago trade unions, including expanding its Civic Engagement Initiative to ensure that community partners serving areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic can work with HIRE360 to increase access to career level training and employment opportunities in the construction trades and unions.
Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition will provide training and support to assist adult job seekers by increasing their access to and ability to navigate the technology required to apply for jobs in today’s economy.
Instituto del Progreso Latino will focus on workforce training for Latinx job seekers interested medical professions with ongoing support for advancing career paths.
One on One will provide individual, weekly career coaching paired with managerial training to help entry-level workers strengthen the soft and hard skills they need to obtain, retain and grow in their career. We Rise Together is a coalition of corporate and philanthropic funders who have committed more than $46 million to support equitable economic recovery in the Chicago region. More than $18.6 million in grants have been distributed to invest in disinvested neighborhoods, strengthen employment opportunities, and support Black and Latinx businesses.
To see a complete list of supporters and learn how individuals and organizations can contribute, visit www.wrtogether.org.
About We Rise Together We Rise Together: For an Equitable and Just Recovery is a coalition of corporate and philanthropic funders working with community to accelerate an equitable, economic recovery in the Chicago region. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how chronic disinvestment exacerbated health and economic risks and left communities of color uniquely vulnerable. In response, this five-year initiative, which began in 2020, is making grants, transforming business practices, and changing policies to support investment in disinvested neighborhoods, strengthen Black and Latinx businesses, and increase quality, resilient employment. For more information, visit www.wrtogether.org.