August 2020
Chicago’s Young People Give Back through
the Chicago Youth Service Corps
Our City’s youth have acutely felt the tremendous social impact of the COVID-19 crisis. With classes, sports and music events, graduation ceremonies, and summer programs canceled, teens and young adults missed many milestones they would typically enjoy in the spring and summer months. Moreover, many teens lost critical employment opportunities, as businesses temporarily closed their doors in compliance with stay at home orders.

Recognizing the crisis’ impact on the well-being of young Chicagoans—as well as the well-known social-emotional benefits of community service—the City of Chicago wanted to engage young people in the response to COVID-19. In May, the Department of Family and Support Services set out to create the Chicago Youth Service Corps, a subprogram of One Summer Chicago, to employ people aged 16-24 in remote, COVID-19 crisis response and community service related activities. With a goal of launching in early July, the City had less than two months to conceptualize, plan, and start the program.

Given this accelerated timeline, Civic Consulting Alliance and our pro bono partner Slalom stepped up to help plan and implement the Corps. Over the course of ten weeks, the Slalom and Civic Consulting Alliance team provided support critical to a successful and timely launch of the program:

  • Stakeholder management - Facilitating collaboration between the Department of Family and Support Services and other City agencies and partners
  • Overall project management - Creating a timeline, tracking and managing progress
  • Product design - Building a unique experience with elements that could be transferred to other youth programs in the future
“This summer was a uniquely important moment to define the future of Chicago, and how the young people of our city can find their place to grow and lead within it,” said Chris Kelly, a Slalom consultant who led the initiative. “Slalom was proud to jump in and help young Chicagoans connect to our neighbors, our city, and with each other to build a better future together.”
As a result of these efforts, the Corps employed over 2,000 participants for six weeks between July and August. The Corps supported a variety of projects, including serving as social distance ambassadors, building a youth-led COVID-19 public information campaign, making wellbeing phone calls to older residents, and crafting cloth face masks. Beyond the opportunity to serve their neighborhood and their city, the Corps provided participants a cohesive community-building and learning experience—through activities like team meetings with structured time for reflection, a virtual capstone project showcase on August 11th, and a graduation event on August 13th where they could celebrate their achievements. The Corps was such a success that the City is considering how to do a second cohort in summer 2021, or potentially a year-round model, building off of a detailed ‘Program Playbook’ created by Slalom and the lessons learned this year.

“We are so grateful to Civic Consulting Alliance and Slalom for making the Chicago Youth Service Corps possible in such a short period of time. Chicago’s young people are incredibly civic-minded, and this program gave our youth a way to give back, while creating space for celebration and community — which are vital to all people’s health and happiness.”

-Lisa Morrison Butler, Commissioner, Department of Family & Support Services
COVID-19 Response and Recovery Update
Since March, Civic Consulting Alliance has mobilized to support a comprehensive COVID-19 response and recovery that centers equity. As we've shared in our past several newsletters, we have redeployed 75 percent of our staff and secured pro bono teams across more than 20 projects, organized into 10 distinct workstreams with the City of Chicago, Cook County, the State of Illinois, and philanthropic and community stakeholders. This month, we highlight another example of this important ongoing work: the City of Chicago's mobile services program.
Mobile City Services
In June, with pro bono support from an individual contractor, Civic Consulting Alliance supported Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services Sybil Madison by developing a pilot mobile service delivery program. The pilot launched on July 24th at locations in Auburn Gresham, West Englewood, and North Lawndale. Through the program, seven City agencies and community partners are bringing a suite of services - including Census information, voter registration, Chicago Public Library resources, and employment resources from the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership - to residents where they live, increasing accessibility and reducing the risk of COVID-19 exposure at brick-and-mortar centers. This program aims to expand the reach of social and health resources during this time of increased need, contribute to summer safety strategies, and create organic opportunities for community engagement.
Photos from a mobile services event on July 24, 2020.
Redesigning the Chicago Police Department's
Performance Evaluation System
As our country and our city face a summer marked by rising gun violence and widespread protests around policing, Civic Consulting Alliance remains focused on facilitating public safety and criminal justice reform to ensure that everyone – residents and police – are safe and justice is exercised consistently across all communities. We have long supported the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in its efforts to reform Departmental practices in order to improve the quality of policing and the relationship between police and the people they serve. In recent years, work has included projects to prepare for and respond to a court-monitored consent decree, to implement a new use of force training, to develop and implement the Department’s new strategic plan, and to implement a new vision for community policing.

In 2019, CPD endeavored to redesign its performance evaluation system, a recommendation of the Department’s strategic plan and a requirement of the consent decree. The existing system did not effectively identify how officers were performing or which needed additional training and support. As a result, CPD sought to make the performance evaluation process a more robust tool for professional development, personal growth, and accountability. CPD needed to:

  • Document performance evaluation processes from within CPD, across peer departments, and industry experts;
  • Identify strengths and opportunities for improvement in the current system;
  • Define a new performance evaluation process and create the materials to facilitate this process; and
  • Ensure compliance with consent decree requirements related to evaluation criteria, internal processes, and training.

From August 2019 through July 2020, Civic Consulting Alliance and a pro bono fellow from McKinsey & Company:

  • Documented current state processes and national best practices;
  • Synthesized findings and proposed options for revisions to the existing system;
  • Built out the recommendations into a revised performance evaluation process flow and identified resources needed for implementation; and
  • Developed an implementation plan and designed materials to support implementation

As a result of this project, CPD is now equipped with a performance evaluation system that includes the qualitative evaluative dimensions critical to ensuring officer growth and accountability, including community policing, impartial policing, effective use of de-escalation, and constitutional policing. Moreover, the new system standardizes evaluations across officers and those in higher, supervisor-level rankings, who were previously reviewed using two dissimilar processes.

“The performance evaluation system that Civic Consulting Alliance helped to design will ensure that evaluation is fair and consistent across the Department, and will enable us to build a stronger culture of coaching and effective supervision.”

- Deputy Superintendent Barbara West

From 2021 to 2023, CPD will pilot the new evaluation process in one district and among all members of rank Captain and above, assessing roughly 400 officers and supervisors.

As our country strives to ensure fair and equitable policing practices and build trust between police and the communities they serve, we hope that CPD’s new performance evaluation process will contribute to a body of reforms that lead to more effective and just policing in Chicago and beyond.
Undergraduate Spotlights: Kayode Balogun & Tiana Graham
Kayode Balogun was with us as an Undergraduate Fellow through the Academy Group from June through August. Kayode is a rising junior at Gettysburg College.
Tiana Graham was with us as an Undergraduate Fellow through the Princeton Internships in Civic Service program from June through August. Tiana is a rising senior at Princeton University.
What project work were you involved in during your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?

KB: I supported the development of a plan to drive equity-focused improvements at the Juvenile Intervention Support Center (JISC), the Chicago Police Department's post-arrest diversion program that aims to provide services and supports for juveniles arrested for low-level offenses.

TG: I worked with the City's COVID-19 Racial Equity Rapid Response (RERR) team, a coalition that addresses racial disparities in COVID-19 mortality and positivity, and the Chicagoland Workforce Funders Alliance, researching emerging healthcare workforce needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

What will you take away from your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?

KB: During a project interview, I met an advocate who told me that one reason he has thrived is that he surrounds himself with people who he looks up to, who inspire him to continuously learn and grow. At Civic Consulting Alliance, I have been surrounded by extraordinary people. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to connect with these individuals and soak up their advice, knowledge, and encouragement.

TG: I was attracted to Civic Consulting Alliance because of the public-private collaboration it is uniquely positioned to foster. I came to learn about the incredibly diverse and complex city of Chicago, and how consulting can facilitate equitable social outcomes. Through my internship, I was able to learn about each of these things, while coming away with so much more.
What was your most memorable experience during your time at Civic Consulting Alliance?

KB: It was odd to start my internship remotely, and in a field that I had no prior experience in. Being a natural extrovert, I appreciated the effort the team made to connect with me. Despite not being able to pop into people’s offices, I 'met' so many people and had amazing conversations. In the short time I was here, the team really made me feel at home.

TG: I will never forget the first week I started at Civic Consulting Alliance. I was filled with nervous excitement at the opportunity of a new, professional experience, but at the same time, the heaviness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent killing of George Floyd certainly colored the emotions I felt. During my first staff meeting, the team discussed the significance of both events. I appreciated the way the staff rallied together and uplifted one another by navigating this moment united in compassion and empathy. That same week, I got to hear numerous City and community leaders engage in conversations around racial equity in public health and the ongoing civil unrest around Chicago. I was honored to listen in and take notes during these critical calls—and it was quite a first week.
How has your time at Civic Consulting Alliance helped you develop professionally?

KB: I have never worked with people as hard-working as my team at Civic Consulting Alliance. Being part of this team motivated me to wake up a little earlier, to plan my work, and stay focused. Additionally, my fellowship has shown me how crucial planning and execution are to a project's success—especially with projects that are vital to our communities.

TG: When I started at Civic Consulting Alliance, I set professional development goals to guide my growth, and I can truly say that my supervisors and colleagues provided me with every opportunity to build the skills I set out to progress in. My colleagues entrusted me to accomplish important pieces of our projects, and that kind of faith bolstered my own confidence in my work products and in myself. I will always remember my experience with immense gratitude and appreciation for the genuine connections I made, the meaningful work I contributed to, and the intimate view I had of the complexity of working to build a more equitable society.

Civic Consulting Alliance Fellowships are full-time positions that typically last between three months and a year. Fellows are integrated into project teams for a unique professional development opportunity. Additionally, we partner with various institutions and programs to provide undergraduate fellowships. Please visit our Fellowships page to learn more about our range of fellowship opportunities.
In Other News...

  • This week, the City kicked off a crucial new phase of Mayor Lori Lightfoot's $750 million INVEST South/West initiative by releasing a request for proposals for development in Englewood, Auburn Gresham, and Austin, the first three of 10 South and West Side neighborhoods the City has prioritized to catalyze equitable economic development. Civic Consulting Alliance is providing significant pro bono support to implement INVEST South West, one of the Mayor's signature equity-focused initiatives.

  • Chicago's COVID-19 data dashboard, developed with pro bono support from Civic Consulting Alliance and our partner Slalom, is a model for COVID-19 public health data transparency and access. WBEZ's Curious City recently explained some of the patterns this data shows.

  • Civic Consulting Alliance is proud to support the City's Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, a group of community leaders, hospitals, and city officials committed to addressing the disproportionate health impact of COVID-19 on Black and Latinx communities. In June, the healthcare provider subgroup, with our help, expanded their work beyond the pandemic, declaring racism a public health crisis and committing to taking seven steps to address systemic racism. The Chicago Tribune recently wrote about racial bias in healthcare in Chicago and the provider subgroup's commitment.
Questions? Comments? Contact Marie Akerman