|Mayor Richard M. Daley today announced the City will receive approximately $34 million from a combination of federal sources to provide job search and job training services for Chicagoans struggling to remain economically secure during the difficult economic times.
"With most people in agreement that an economic turnaround is a long way off, we are facing a new problem: more people than ever before need support from our workforce development system," Daley said in a news conference held at the Greater West Town Community Development Project, a job training center at 2031 W. Fulton St.
"This includes a broad range of Chicagoans: not only disadvantaged populations, such as ex-offenders and the homeless, but also young people, blue collar workers and white collar workers," he said.
The mayor said that the City's Department of Community Development will receive the money starting now and continuing over the next several months. It will be used to provide assistance to Chicago residents through summer, 2010.
Overall, the funding the City receives will provide job search, job training and job placement services to approximately 7,500 job seekers and training for 3,400 residents -- about 5,000 more people than the City was able to help last year.
The $34 million comes from two sources:
$17.8 million through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act
An estimated $16 million through the regular annual distribution of Workforce Investment Act fundsThe funds will be used to assist low income adults who meet certain income guidelines and any other people who have recently lost their jobs.
Starting in July, $17.7 million will be used to expand job training programs, including:
Tuition assistance for job training programs
"Bridge" programs to provide basic reading and math skills for low literacy residents
Programs to prepare for "green" jobs and jobs in fields with skills shortages, such as health care, information technology and transportation
Assistance for residents who are employed but need to upgrade their skills
Career counseling programs
The City will also use $16.2 million to expand its WorkNet Chicago System, which provides job search and training assistance through five WorkNet Centers, through its manufacturing and service centers and through 22 delegate agencies covering more than 30 neighborhoods throughout the city.
"Our workforce centers are often the first place an unemployed or laid off person goes to get help from the City, which is why we wanted to make sure the stimulus dollars went there first," Daley said.
The centers offer free services to residents, such as skills assessments, job search assistance, help in creating resumes, and access to other support, such as help with transportation costs. They are also the places local businesses go to find a skilled workforce.
The WorkNet Centers and manufacturing and service sector centers have already received about $8 million of the federal funds and are ramping up capacity to serve more residents.
The remaining funds will be allocated to the 22 delegate agencies beginning in July. "I want to encourage unemployed or paid off Chicago residents to visit the five Chicago Workforce Centers and the two sector centers now," Daley said.
"More people than ever need jobs, education and training. They need opportunities. With this federal support, we will aim to help them improve their skills, find work and support themselves and their families," he said. To further strengthen the City's commitment to enhancing workforce development during these challenging economic times, Daley also announced the City has established the Chicago Workforce Investment Council, composed of business, education and civic leaders who will help provide strategic advice on workforce-related investments citywide.
The Council will help oversee distribution of the $300 million in public funds spent annually in Chicago on workforce development in addition to the federal stimulus dollars.
Complete information about workforce programs can be found on the City's website or by calling 311.
All Chicago Workforce Centers are open Monday through Friday, closed weekends and holidays. Orientation times for each Workforce Center are listed below. Please call ahead to confirm these times, as they are subject to change without advance notice.
Chicago Workforce Center -- North Side
4740 N. Sheridan
Orientation: 9:00am - Monday through Thursday
Chicago Workforce Center - Garfield
10 S. Kedzie, Room 134
Orientation: 9:00am -- Monday through Thursday
Chicago Workforce Center - Pilsen
1657 S. Blue Island
312-243-5100 or 312-265-5695
Orientation: 8:30am -- Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
Chicago Workforce Center - Mid-South
4314 S. Cottage Grove
Orientation: 8:45am -- Monday through Thursday
Chicago Workforce Center - Southwest
7500 S. Pulaski, Bldg 100
Orientation: 8:30am -- Monday through Thursday
Chicago ManufacturingWorks Center
2800 S. Western Ave, Suite 1309
Orientation: Offered As Needed (Center Hours are 9:00 am - 5:00 pm)
Chicago ServiceWorks Center
500 N. Dearborn St. Suite 850