Chicago Workforce Investment Council
The Chicago Workforce Investment Council, or CWIC, is a group of top business and civic leaders chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, created to ensure that Chicago has a skilled and educated workforce to keep our businesses, economy, communities, and families thriving. We accomplish this by monitoring over $300 million of annual public investments in education and workforce training, and coordinating resources across the City to ensure these investments support the overall health of our economy.
This funding comes from federal, state, and local sources and is distributed to 14 public agencies for use in myriad programs offered at hundreds of locations throughout the city. Until recently, no single entity tracked and compared data across all of these programs to evaluate their effectiveness. In addition to the lack of data, there were several critical pieces missing from the city’s workforce infrastructure, including an overarching workforce development agenda for the city; a strategy for preparing Chicago’s workforce with the skills to compete in the new economy; and coordination among the private, public and nonprofit sectors to develop a pipeline of skilled labor for Chicago’s businesses. CWIC was created to address these needs.
With the Chicago Workforce Investment Council, a single entity is for the first time able to take a view of the entire spectrum of workforce development programs and funding streams, develop unique Chicago solutions to our most pressing workforce issues, and help agencies show results.
In its first year and a half, CWIC has effectively engaged the City’s largest public workforce programs and provided data analysis, project management, and technical assistance to ensure that Chicago is getting the biggest return on public investments in education and training. CWIC also provides staffing to the Chicago Workforce Investment Board, the federally mandated entity that oversees the investment of the City’s annual Workforce Investment Act (WIA) allocation from the federal government.
CWIC’s work is driven by three questions:
- How do we improve the return on our public investment in workforce development?
- How do we help Chicago businesses access skilled labor?
- How do we help Chicagoans get the right skills to be competitive in the labor market?
These questions align with CWIC’s three program areas: system innovation, sector strategies, and human capital strategy.
- Through CWIC’s system innovation initiatives, we seek to improve the return on the public investment in workforce development, and lay the groundwork to launch lasting system improvements.
- Through CWIC’s sector strategies, we set ambitious goals for closing skills gaps in Chicago’s key industries, and help make sure that Chicago businesses are accessing the skilled labor they need.
- CWIC’s human capital strategy aims to ensure that our city’s human capital can meet 21st century job demands, and focuses on getting our residents the skills and credentials they need to be competitive in the labor market. In all of these areas, CWIC partners with workforce development stakeholders to provide strategy development, project management and data analysis so these stakeholders can show results while saving time and money.