Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership announced the launch of the $4 million Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Job Training and Placement program to provide training, placement, and lay-off aversion for suburban Cook County jobseekers and employers impacted by COVID-19.
U.S. employment is still 11 million below the pre-pandemic level. According to a report from Forbes, between February and April, more than 22 million jobs were lost. With 52 percent of lost jobs recovered between May and August 2020, September and October data suggest the revival is slowing.
"The County remains committed to providing vital solutions to address the needs of workers and jobseekers," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “In addition to causing economic upheaval and massive job losses across the county, COVID-19 has forced many vulnerable businesses to adapt in ways that require jobseekers to find new employment opportunities and develop new skillsets. The Job Training and Placement program will serve as a critical resource for jobseekers and dislocated workers to help them get back to work."
Funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the program provides $4 million to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership to subgrant funds to seven workforce agencies located in or serving suburban Cook County residents and employers.
"We all know of businesses that are struggling or have closed, and workers who have been laid off or have had their hours drastically reduced because of the pandemic," said Xochitl Flores, Bureau Chief of Economic Development. "Many providers are working to address specific training needs of essential and struggling industries such as retail, grocery, hospitality, tourism, health care, transportation, and logistics. This is a unique opportunity for us to leverage our CARES funding to expand the capacity of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership's robust network of providers and get jobseekers and dislocated workers the supports they need to thrive during the pandemic."
Since 2012, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership has been operating the public workforce system in Chicago and suburban Cook County. It administers federal job training and placement initiatives for those seeking employment and those seeking to hire. This program supports training, placement, and career coaching programs for job seekers and provides additional resources for employers and training providers serving or located in suburban Cook County.
“The Partnership has continued providing services virtually throughout the pandemic as the number of job seekers and businesses who require our support grows daily,” said The Partnership’s CEO Karin M. Norington-Reaves. “This funding allows us to offer training and more intensive supports to laid off job seekers and employers desperate to avoid downsizing.”
Residents and Employers can review eligibility requirements and get assistance by contacting one of the seven sites below. In addition, for more information, visit ChiCookWorks.org/CountyCARES or call 1-800-720-2515 to be directed to a listing of the American Job Centers in suburban Cook County.
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership will use Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Job Training and Placement funds to build capacity with these agencies:
- North Suburban Cook County American Job Center (Arlington Heights, IL)
- West Suburban Cook County American Job Center (Maywood, IL)
- Southwest Suburban Cook County American Job Center (North Riverside, IL)
- South Suburban Cook County American Job Center at Prairie State College (Chicago Heights, IL)
- South Suburban Cook County American Job Center (Harvey, IL)
- Manufacturing Renaissance (Chicago, IL, serving suburban Cook County)
- Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action (Maywood, IL)
The Partnership’s network consists of American Job Centers, industry sector-focused workforce centers, and more than 70 community-based organizations. Businesses seeking assistance to avert potential layoffs can visit The Partnership’s website at ChiCookWorks.org/contact-us.