Announcements from Chicago's Workforce Development Funder Collaborative

November 2019 
Announcing New Career Pathways Directory 

The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance with leadership from  Origami Works Foundation and support from representatives of  Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Teachers Union FoundationEmbarc, Chicago Jobs Council, and multiple stakeholders across the city built this resource for young adults and their guides who want low barrier options for advancing their careers. Featured in the directory are employer training programs, certification organizations, City Colleges of Chicago, and many other organizations that are invested in closing the skills gap in Chicagoland. A wide array of career fields are represented, including but not limited to: healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, culinary/hospitality, and transportation, distribution, and logistics.

Join us for the official launch of the Career Pathways directory on Wednesday, January 29th from 1-3pm at the Chicago Community Trust. Experience the directory first-hand while also learning the origin of the work and what's next. Registration link:
Our Next Learning Community Session:
Chicagoland Workforce Leadership Academy

2019 Chicago Leadership Academy Fellows

The Funder Alliance along with the Chicago Jobs Council , the Aspen Institute , and local stakeholders have partnered to create a Workforce Leadership Academy for workforce development professionals in the Chicagoland region. These Leadership Academies are supported nationally by  JPMorgan Chase  and  The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

The purpose of these Academies is to develop a network of workforce development leaders who are not only able to lead their own programs or organizations, but who can also work collaboratively to build effective workforce systems.

Workforce Leadership Academies create and support peer-learning communities of workforce leaders from nonprofit organizations, business associations, community colleges and universities, union-based training efforts, and public agencies. Participants in Academies work with leading practitioners from around the country, learn about practical planning tools, and have the rare opportunity to reflect on and develop effective workforce strategies to strengthen their local workforce system. Participants also engage in leadership development activities, including a 360-degree leadership assessment. Fellows are selected in a competitive application process and are typically senior-level managers with authority to implement program changes. Alumni of the Academies are part of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunity Fellows Network

Learn more about the Chicago Leadership Academy and hear from participants at our next Learning Community Session on Thursday, December 19th from 1-2:30pm. Registration Link: 
WorkLab Innovations Receives $1.1M Investment from 
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Congratulations to our colleagues at  WorkLab Innovations for receiving this new grant to  scale their Resource Navigator model of workforce support nationwide. This  model is uniquely able to address the complex personal challenges that can limit the potential of workers. It  connects workers with personalized resources and ongoing support so life challenges don't keep them from bringing their best selves to work. The Funder Alliance supports their Chicago affiliate, OAI, Inc., with their resource navigator, Retention Plus. 
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 Christopher Family Foundation  for your support!

What projects are you most proud of that your Foundation has supported in 2019 so far?   In our Employment & Entrepreneurship portfolio, we've been happy to support several workforce training programs, including Jane Addams Resource Corporation , Cara Chicago , and Inspiration Corporation . Our founders believe in the dignity of work and want to insure that everyone in Chicago who wants to work can find a pathway toward a meaningful living.
What projects are you anticipating or excites you for FY20?  We are looking forward to participating in the Funder Alliance strategic planning process. While we're new to the Funder Alliance, that strategic conversation will help us to know our colleague organizations better, and to understand how the work we support fits into a larger ecosystem in Chicago.
Why is your Foundation a member of the Funder Alliance?  As a smaller foundation we are interested in making the most leveraged investments that we can. Working within the Funder Alliance lets us contribute toward larger outcomes than we might be able to support on our own. It also provides the guidance of wise colleagues, who can help us to learn what has worked for them and what hasn't.

The Christopher Family Foundation has a new website:
Rooted in a Christian perspective, they use their grant-making to foster creativity and innovation and to build capacity and collaboration in our areas of funding priority.
Thank you for your interest in the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance. Follow us on social media: Twitter or LinkedIn or visit our website at