Announcements from Chicago's Workforce Development Funder Collaborative

October 2019 
New Learning Community  Sessions Launched

Our new monthly "Learning Community"  information series kicked off Tuesday, October 22nd  with 100 people attending the first session on Apprenticeships. The panel of experts provided  updates on collective efforts to expand youth apprenticeships, on State policy and funding for apprenticeship expansion, and on the Apprenticeship 2020 Fund. Our next Learning Community session on Hire360 Chicago, a career pathway partnership between organized labor, philanthropic groups such as the United Way, and some of the largest contractors & developers in Chicago, is scheduled for Thursday, November 21st at 1pm. Here's the registration link: We hope to see you there!
Announcing New Youth Apprenticeship System
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Chicago's City Colleges (CCC) are launching a new apprenticeship program.  It's called Career Launch Chicago and will be available at 14 high schools and four colleges.

Students will have an opportunity to apply for apprenticeships at Fifth Third Bank, CISCO, Rush University Medical Center, and many more. Interested employers can contact Career Launch Chicago at

"Career Launch Chicago will bring together CPS, CCC and some of our city's leading businesses and institutions to build a more equitable and dynamic economy by creating apprenticeships, which will allow our young people to take college courses in high school, continue to earn a record-level of college credentials, and get paid to build experience in a field their passionate about," said Mayor Lightfoot. "To prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, I challenge businesses in every industry to participate in programs like this one and build an unparalleled talent pipeline."

Both the Apprenticeship 2020 Fund and a grant from the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) are supporting Career Launch Chicago. 
United Way of Metro Chicago Receives Major Gift from BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank (a member of the Financial Services Pipeline Initiative has committed $10 Million to the United Way of Metro Chicago (a member of the Funder Alliance) to advance their  Neighborhood Network Initiative, with a focus on the Austin neighborhood . This gift is the largest in United Way of Metro Chicago's history and largest corporate gift by BMO Harris Bank. "Partnerships like this one will create lasting, measurable change and bolster our efforts to create a network of communities for transformative growth powered by our shared investments in infrastructure, commercial activity, quality of life projects and much more in 10 neighborhoods on Chicago's South and West Sides," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

"Economic opportunity and strong neighborhoods go hand in hand," said David Casper, BMO's U.S. CEO and United Way of Metro Chicago Campaign Chair. "United Way's Neighborhood Network Initiative, paired with Mayor Lightfoot's economic development plan, is an opportunity for bold community and business leaders to step forward and act as change-makers, improving the quality of life and driving lasting improvements."

Austin Coming Together has led the development of a shared community vision and helped to lay the building blocks for further economic investment as the lead community partner in United Way's Austin Neighborhood Network.
Funder Alliance Member Spotlight

The Funder Alliance is supported by over 30 workforce development funders. We will be featuring one of the them in each of our upcoming newsletters. Thank you Michael Reese Health Trust  for your support!

What projects are you most proud of that your Foundation has supported in 2019 so far?   As a health funder, we know that good health is inextricably linked with stable employment that offers a living wage. We are pleased to be a partner in seeding the Chicagoland Healthcare Workforce Collaborative, where health systems are working together to leverage the power of their institutions to create pathways for economic mobility and improve the health of their communities.
What projects are you anticipating or excites you for FY20?  We are looking forward to the evolving apprenticeship work. Apprenticeships and apprenticeship-like positions are growing in the health sector. We are eager to draw on our deep relationship and learnings from our long-standing partnership with Chicago Public School's Career and Technical Education program to strengthen the ecosystem for programs were students can continue to earn while they learn.
Why is your foundation a member of the Funder Alliance?  The opportunity to step beyond what we know best and partner with thoughtful colleagues who have common interests, albeit different approaches, drives us to be innovative and more strategic as we address key social determinants of health. Learning about what works and doesn't work in other industries guides us to challenge the status quo in health and expand our understanding of what could be. The Funder Alliance sets the table for this critical learning to take place and helps funders connect to change makers in the field. We look forward to the future of the Funder Alliance and how our lessons learned can inform policies that will positively impact more Chicagoans .

Michael Reese has a new identity and website:

According to their President and CEO, Gayla Brockman, "We are Michael Reese connects our current work to Michael Reese Hospital's rich legacy. Michael Reese Hospital was known as a center of innovation. Its doors were open to all and it honored the inherent value of every life and the obligation each of us has to act on that belief as individuals and a community.

We are Michael Reese affirms our enduring commitment to care, not only downstream, at the point of treatment, but upstream, where policies, systems, and practices shape health outcomes."

Thank you for your interest in the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance. Follow us on social media: Twitter or LinkedIn or visit our website at