Cook County Introduces First Agreement Under New Vacant Building Ordinance

September 10, 2012

First West Nile virus death in suburban Cook County`09/12/2012`Import Author`<a data-cke-saved-href= href= rel=attachment wp-att-10494><img class=alignleft size-full wp-image-10494 style=margin: 10px; title=First West Nile virus death in suburban Cook County data-cke-saved-src= src= alt=First West Nile virus death in suburban Cook County width=200 height=267 /></a>To date, Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) officials report one death, 58 human cases, 365 mosquito pools and seven birds with West Nile virus (WNV) throughout suburban Cook County. These numbers do NOT include Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Stickney Township or Oak Park – these communities have their own state certified local public health departments.<br><br>“We are seeing fewer hot, dry days but the virus continues to circulate and residents still need to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” said CCDPH interim chief operating officer<em>, </em><em>Sandra Martell, RN, DNP</em>. “Residents should continue to use mosquito repellant with DEET anytime they have to be outside and always wear light, loose fitting clothing when outdoors between dusk and dawn. These two steps of personal protection and removing standing water around your home continue to be the best defense against West Nile virus.”<br><br>The best way to prevent West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites:<br><ul><br> <li>Use insect repellents with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus when you go outdoors.</li><br> <li>Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.</li><br> <li>Install or repair screens on windows and doors.</li><br> <li>Empty standing water from items outside your home such as gutters, flowerpots, buckets, kiddie pools and birdbaths. Water that is allowed to stagnate for three or four days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.</li><br> <li>Keep weeds and grass cut short and keep gutters clean and free of debris.</li><br></ul><br>Most people infected with WNV have no symptoms of illness and never become ill. But illness can occur 3-15 days after an infected mosquito bite and cause symptoms of fever, headache and body aches. People over the age of 50 and anyone with an underlying health condition are at a higher risk for serious complications from encephalitis or meningitis. For that reason, people who experience high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches, or a stiff neck should see a doctor immediately.<br><br>For more information, please visit, <a data-cke-saved-href= href=></a>. West Nile virus numbers will be updated on the homepage Monday through Friday at noon.`None*Health`None*Health and Hospitals System`Newspaper Article Information Week Names Cook County Bureau of Technology a Leading Government Innovator`09/12/2012`Import Author`<a data-cke-saved-href= href= rel=attachment wp-att-10523><img class=alignleft size-full wp-image-10523 title=Information Week Names Cook County Bureau of Technology a Leading Government Innovator data-cke-saved-src= src= alt=Information Week Names Cook County Bureau of Technology a Leading Government Innovator width=260 height=200 /></a>Information Week Magazine named Cook County Government’s Bureau of Technology one of the leading innovators in Government Information Technology for 2012.  InformationWeek's Government IT Innovators awards, now in its fourth year, recognize local, state, and federal agencies for their innovative use of information technology.<br><br>Cook County won the award by leading the way in the creation of <a data-cke-saved-href= href=></a>, the first cloud-based collaborative open data site featuring datasets from Cook County, the City of Chicago, and the State of Illinois.  Instead of residents having to look in 3 different places for data, virtualizes all datasets at one website.<br><br>“I’m proud of the leadership and staff at the Bureau of Technology,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.  “ represents the some of the best of what I believe good government can be: innovative, transparent and collaborative.”<br><br>“Government technology doesn’t have to be the stepchild of the private sector,” said Lydia Murray, incoming Chief Information Officer for Cook County. “ disproves the notion that innovation and collaboration can only come from corporations. Government provides more services to a significantly larger and unique set of customers.  Working smarter and more collaboratively is the only way effective governments will be able to provide value to taxpayers,” she added.<br><br>Open Data is the publishing of once-hidden government data to a free public data website, or catalog.  It is part of the recent open government movement to increase the transparency, accountability and performance of the public sector through innovative uses of the web, social networks and mobile platforms.<br><br>While governments have for some time made statistical datasets available publicly—first in published books and tables, then on diskette, and for the past 10-15 years downloadable or viewable on public-facing websites—the open government movement is unique in that it applies a standards-based approach to the release of government datasets to the public.<br><br> is hosted by Socrata (<a data-cke-saved-href= href=></a>) in a public cloud and is cooperatively managed by the three partner governments.  It currently includes more than 1200 datasets and visualizations of public data in 10 categories including public safety, health, education, environment, transportation, tax and revenue, and buildings and property.  This convergence cloud site federates information posted by Cook County, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois to their individual data sites.  The Socrata platform provides a simple way to access, view and download public datasets, and offers the ability for users to comment on and rate datasets and to create and save visualizations including a variety of graphs, charts and maps.  The platform meets Open Data requirements and provides an open source API for developers to be able to connect directly to data sources on the site over the internet when building websites and mobile applications.<br><br>“One of the least talked about advantages with Open Data, and is its ability to provide opportunity for the new wave of digital entrepreneurs,” said Sebastian James, Deputy Director of New Media for Cook County. 10 years ago, if an entrepreneur wanted to build a business around a new idea for an analytics dashboard he or she would either have to create dummy data, or pay someone for data to test their creation.  With Open Data, an entrepreneur can go to an data site, find and download what they need, and build a product based on real-world data,” said James.<br><br>In June 2012, county air quality data was used during a global hackathon which saw over 1000 participants in 10 cities worldwide compete to create a better model to predict daily air quality.  “That’s part of the value of open data,” said James. “It makes innovation and collaboration infinitely easier and more effective.”<br><br>The editors of InformationWeek Government selected the winners following a nomination process that resulted in dozens of entries.<br><br><a data-cke-saved-href= href= target=_blank>Click here to view the awards page</a>.  For more information, contact Sebastian James at 312-603-1407, or at <a></a>.`None*Open Data and Transparency*Technology`None*None*Bureau of Technology`Newspaper Article President Preckwinkle and Mayor Emanuel Announce Skills for Chicagoland's Future`09/13/2012`Import Author`<a data-cke-saved-href= href= rel=attachment wp-att-10544><img class=alignleft size-full wp-image-10544 title=Preckwinkle_260x200 data-cke-saved-src= src= alt=" class="alignleft" height="200" src="" title="CCG_Seal_260x200" width="260" />

Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle and City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the creation of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (SCF)—a public-private partnership uniting Chicago and Cook County government, businesses, job seekers, workforce development partners and educational institutions in a coordinated effort to jumpstart business growth, put local residents back to work and stimulate our region’s economy. The program’s focus is to shrink the skills gap in the Chicago area and help employers find employees who are properly trained for available positions.

“At a time when approximately 240,000 residents throughout Cook County are unemployed, there are more than 200,000 local job postings,” said Board President Preckwinkle. “Skills for Chicagoland’s Future will help these residents gain the skills and education they need to obtain and succeed in available jobs in a way that maximizes the City and County's workforce development resources.”

“A strategic, regional workforce development plan that is focused on the employment needs of local businesses is essential for the economic future of Chicago and the surrounding areas,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Skills for Chicagoland’s Future will put unemployed residents back to work by training them for the positions that are available in the modern economy, and will benefit the entire region for generations to come.”

SCF will work as a business advocate—the organization will work directly with local businesses to identify the unmet needs of employers. Then, when needed, SCF will work directly with companies to coordinate funding and develop customized workforce training solutions. These efforts will decrease the number of unfilled jobs and the time it takes to fill those positions. The full range of SCF services include:

Real time matching of job seekers with employers.

Development of customized training solutions by identifying and leveraging funds that can be used to build the programs, and by working with a wide variety of educational and other institutions to develop appropriate programs.

Building partnerships throughout the region to develop long-term solutions to the workforce skills gap.

The work done by SCF will support and complement the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and City Colleges of Chicago's College to Careers efforts.

SCF services are currently provided at no cost to either employers or unemployed job seekers.  Employers can contact SCF to assist with recruitment efforts related to their skills gap and hiring challenges.   Unemployed job seekers in Chicago and Cook County can apply to be included in the SCF database for placement consideration and immediate opportunities.

Skills for Chicagoland’s Future is the first regional adaptation of the successful national organization Skills for America’s Future (SAF) that works to foster partnerships between businesses and community colleges to ensure workers are trained with employer-needed skills.Chicago business executive Penny Pritzker will serve as the first chairman of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future board of directors, providing continuity with the national Skills for America’s Future, for which she serves as its advisory board chairman.

Pritzker, founder and CEO of PSP Capital and its affiliate, Pritzker Realty Group, stressed the business community focus of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. Skills for Chicagoland’s Future will help local employers, both large and small, to leverage federal workforce development funds to create partnerships between employers and educational institutions to provide customized training solutions in areas where skill-ready candidates don't already exist. SCF will help coordinate the training so that job seekers can acquire the necessary skills to fill employers’ current and future job openings.

Marie Trzupek Lynch, a seasoned workforce development professional who previously spearheaded the City’s Chicago Career Tech training initiative, will serve as president and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future.

“Skills for Chicagoland's Future is a new, targeted approach to workforce development that takes the guesswork out of the numbers,” said Marie Lynch, president and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. “Rather than training people in a skill and hoping they find a job, SCF will focus on identifying the available jobs and skills that employers require to meet current staffing needs.”

Skills for Chicagoland’s Future is already working with businesses such as Allscripts, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and SeatonCorp to provide such services to meet their immediate hiring needs.  Accenture just completed a 12-week pro bono consulting engagement to help jumpstart the organization.

As a public-private partnership, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future is funded by the City of Chicago, Cook County, the State of Illinois, foundation support and private sector donations, including a lead corporate gift from JP Morgan Chase Foundation and gifts from The Joyce Foundation,  the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.

“This partnership is a great example of private and public sectors successfully collaborating,” said Glenn Tilton, Midwest Chairman, JPMorgan Chase. “Starting with employers’ job opportunities and customizing training programs for those seeking work is most effective in meeting job needs and giving unemployed a fighting chance, and is a great fit for JPMorgan Chase in our mission to help create jobs and our local businesses grow.”

For more information, please visit