Announcements from Chicago's Workforce Development Funder Collaborative

Message from Matt Bruce, Executive Director

So much has been said and written over the past several weeks. I have put some of my own thoughts and struggles in this blog post "Acknowledging My White Privilege" and I welcome any feedback. But for our CWFA newsletter I would like to lift up what we are doing. Since March we have been working closely and communicating with much more frequency with our public sector workforce funder partners at the City, County and State. 
Today I am proud we can publicly announce our plans for what we are calling Workforce Funders Equity Convenings/Gatherings . This is an effort we are committing to in order to guide workforce development investment, both public and private, through the recovery and beyond. As the purpose document states, our region's major public and private funders of workforce development are collectively recognizing the opportunity and the need to do some things differently, and to avoid business as usual both in this crisis and beyond. 
I especially want to thank Alberto Ortega in the Mayor's Office, Karin Norrington-Reaves at the Chicago Cook Workforce PartnershipJulio Rodriguez at the 
IL Department of Commerce and Economic Development, and Carrie Thomas at the  Chicago Jobs Council  for their unwavering thought partnership as we have brought this effort together.

The COVID-19 crisis has catalyzed an urgent need for large-scale public health and economic re-opening and recovery initiatives that can create thousands of new employment opportunities. At the same time, it has created unprecedented and rapid unemployment and loss of income in ways that amplify the inequities already defining our region's labor market. It is imperative that Chicago meets these new workforce needs in a way that improves the long-term racial equity outcomes for our region's workers by connecting them to career pathways and industry-aligned training that match current and future labor market needs.

CWFA is therefore  working collaboratively with its partners to support efforts that:
  1. Meet immediate public health, economic, and workforce needs rapidly and effectively;
  2. Contribute to the closing of the region's racial employment and earnings gaps; and
  3. Drive long-term economic mobility and sustained public health improvement.
CWFA is raising a $5 million Recovery Corps Fund to support these initiatives as they emerge by co-investing and coordinating with public, private, and other philanthropic strategies.The first initiative is taking shape with a focus on the employment of contact tracers in Chicago and Cook County. CWFA is working closely on this initiative with the public health leadership of Chicago and Cook County and with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.

Any funder with any level of interest in the Equitable Recovery Corps should  contact Matt Bruce, CWFA Executive Director at  or visit our website


Especially in this challenging time, the need for widely-available, high-quality early childcare and education is acute; our early childhood workforce is essential to addressing this need. A thriving early childhood workforce is needed for children and families to receive services, for educators to access rewarding careers, for organizations to achieve impact, and for City industries to have strong childcare options for workers. 

In recognition of this need, a group of leaders of Chicago publicly funded early childhood providers has come together in recent months to form the Chicago Early Childhood Workforce Partnership - modeled after our other similar partnerships that exist across other Chicago industries. 

The Chicago Early Childhood Workforce Partnership is a group of early childhood employers who seek to build the best early childhood workforce in the US - marked by quality, diversity, and equity. Members - representing a diverse range of publicly funded school- and center-based EC providers - collaboratively act to elevate the early childhood profession; to attract and retain more educators; to implement systemic strategies that enhance job quality, educator development and effectiveness, and fair compensation; and to increase the impact and sustainability of organizations across our sector. 

As an early first step, the group is thrilled to announce a search for the  Partnership Convener.   The Convener  enables success of the partnership by facilitating members to define shared goals and strategies, engaging broader stakeholders whose support is required for impact, and managing implementation of partnership efforts. Please pass along this exciting opportunity to those in your network (applications due June 30th) and contact Cyndi Solitro, with questions.

To serve regional workforce providers and our communities, the Chicago Jobs Council with help from Origami Works Foundation has published a variety of information and resources relevant to COVID-19.  There is information suitable for organizations, team members, job seekers and clients.

Explore the resource here: COVID-19 Resources  If you have additional information/resources, please send them to
Thank you for your interest in the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance. Follow us on social media: Twitter or LinkedIn or visit our website at