Toni Preckwinkle, candidate for mayor, today announced her plan to create meaningful new job opportunities for the people of Chicago by extending the City’s workforce services to people who have been left out of Chicago’s recent prosperity.
Under her plan, the City will fund a program that enables public schools to house dual-generation programs that offer training for working parents while their children learn. Toni’s plan also targets people who face increased obstacles to employment by expanding the Back to Work 50+ job training program, creating comprehensive youth job programs, and coordinating re-entry programs for non-violent offenders who have served their time.
“Through the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, we have demonstrated that, when government, philanthropy, community organizations, and business all work together, we can offer useful training to workers and connect them with employers who need skilled help,” Preckwinkle said. “When Chicago workers have the skills to succeed in the 21st century economy, everybody wins. As mayor, I will make sure these programs are expanded to serve every community in Chicago, with nobody left behind.”
As Cook County Board President, Toni created the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, which coordinates the public workforce systems in Chicago and Cook County. Under her plan, the Partnership will create new initiatives and expand existing programs to better meet the needs of working parents, older workers, youth, and the formerly incarcerated.
To better serve parents and their children, Toni will support school-based dual-generation training, providing services and education to parents and children in a single location at the same time. As mayor, Toni will include the Partnership’s delegate agencies, which provide direct workforce services, into an expanded CPS Sustainable Community Schools program, which partners community organizations with schools to provide extra services. This will give parents and communities an additional option to meet the needs of their communities.
Older workers – especially those with less education – often face great difficulty in finding new employment after they lose their jobs. Toni will fight to make sure Chicago’s older workers to have the skills to succeed by expanding the Partnership’s Back to Work 50+ job training program to every Chicago City College. This expansion will make it easier for older workers in every community to access the training they need to compete in today’s workplace.
A recent study by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute found that, in Chicago, there are almost 60,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working. The study found that the majority of these “opportunity youth” live on the City’s South and West sides. As Mayor, Toni will work with the Partnership to create a pilot program providing Chicago’s opportunity youth with skills training, support services, and intensive internships to put them on the path to meaningful careers.
Roughly 10,000 inmates are released from prison every year in Illinois, and about 3,000 of those formerly incarcerated individuals return to Chicago. The issue of re-entry is critical, both to public safety and to economic justice – yet City Hall’s disorganized cluster of ex-offender programs makes it near-impossible for returning residents to access the assistance they need to transition back into the community. As Mayor, Toni will coordinate all of the City’s re-entry programming through a taskforce in the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.