Announcements from Chicago's Workforce Development Funder Collaborative

FY18 Quarter 2 - Updates on Initiatives
The Obama Building Equity Fund

Last year the Funder Alliance announced the creation of the Obama Building Equity Fund, thanks to a $1 million gift from the Obama family. The Fund has developed four strategies to achieve the "generational shift" towards greater inclusion in the construction industry envisioned by the donors. After completing a procurement process this winter for the apprenticeship support program strategy, the Funder Alliance is proud to announce the selection of two program partners: St. Paul Community Development Ministries and Chicago Women in Trades. The Funder Alliance plans to make another award this summer in collaboration with the IL Tollway, which is executing its own, aligned procurement process. Also this summer the Fund will be working with Thrive Chicago and One Summer Chicago to improve the transition from summer employment programs to pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.

The Raise The Floor Alliance
Wins In Court

Congratulations to the legal arm of one of the Funder Alliance's major partners, The Raise the Floor Alliance, which just sustained a major victory for illegally misclassified construction workers. The outcome established a new legal precedent at the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and represents several major accomplishments: 
  • It is the first Employee Classification Act (ECA) case argued and won in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • It affirms Raise the Floor's interpretation of the ECA - an employee does not have to bear an additional burden to prove they are an employee under other wage and hour laws if they are an employee under the ECA. This means that construction workers are still protected and entitled to important benefits including workers' compensation, overtime, unemployment, minimum wage, and paid wages.
  • The Seventh Circuit rejected the construction industry's argument that to receive owed wages, a construction worker needs to jump through an additional hoop, dispensing the argument that a worker has to prove a non-payment of wages is "because of misclassification."


Photo: Lydia Colunga-Merchant, Legal Director, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

The Chicagoland Healthcare Workforce Collaborative 

The Funder Alliance is proud to be a supporter of the CHWC, an industry workforce partnership it has worked to help bring together over the past couple years. The CHWC has united employers and industry partners to support an inclusive healthcare workforce, provide accessibility for Chicagoland's unemployed and underemployed populations, and develop innovative responses to the evolving needs of the healthcare industry. The Funder Alliance's role with CHWC is to co-invest with the employers in its projects, which are employer-led, and constantly adapting to emerging workforce trends in and around Chicago.

The Funder Alliance is also proud that the CHWC helps bring together some of its other major institutional partners, including: World Business Chicago, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, City Colleges and Civic Consulting Alliance. Thanks to these partnerships the CHWC is fully aligned with complementary initiatives with major healthcare institutions, including West Side United and Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy.

The CHWC has organized itself into three action teams with the purpose of turning ideas generated from its convenings into action. These action teams currently focus on: Promoting Retention & Career Pathways within hospital institutions; Strengthening Relationships with Education & Training Providers, and piloting Strategies to Increase Local & Targeted Hiring. Over the next few months pilot projects will emerge in each of these action teams to advance broader collaborative objectives. 

Moving forward, the CHWC will work on ways to track and communicate its progress and impact; continue to align with other healthcare initiatives; and support action team projects.
Thanks so much for your interest in the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance. Follow us on social media: @Chi_WF_Funders or LinkedIn