Winter Edition 2021

As we reflect on the past year there is so much to be thankful for – our time with family, our health, our community and the opportunity to seek to understand and gain perspective. The team at ICSPS would like to thank each of you for spending time with us this past year. We know you are all very busy and we truly appreciate our online visitors, conference, summit, and webinar participants, funders, and friends for your engagement, attendance, and support. 

We hope you see ICSPS as a resource and ally, and an advocate in your work. I have always championed the idea that coordination, collaboration and communication make the system stronger – this year has embodied those principles. During this season of gratitude, I invite you to reflect on how much we have learned, responded, and supported one another through partnerships. ICSPS has worked to provide quality, relevant professional learning opportunities throughout 2021- the team at ICSPS is dedicated to providing the system with authentic, engaging, and dynamic professional development as we move forward. Thank you for all you do to make the system amazing and thank you for sharing a portion of your day with our team.
In Gratitude,
Aime'e Julian, PhD
Director, Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support
NOVEMBER 15 - 19, 2021
Illinois celebrates National Apprenticeship Week, November 15 - 19! Don't miss your chance to take advantage of the daily webinars, held 9:00 am - 10:00 am:

Monday - Apprenticeship Illinois: A Learn and Earn Strategy
Tuesday - Creating More Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Apprenticeships
Wednesday - Apprenticeship Business Champions: Building In-house Talent
Thursday - Youth Apprenticeships: Supplying Illinois' Talent Pipeline
Friday - Build Your Future Workforce: Meet Illinois' Apprentices

To register for an event and learn more about how apprenticeship is growing Illinois talent, visit ApprenticeshipIL.com.
The WIOA Professional Development Committee representing the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Department of Employment Securities, Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Department of Human Services is excited to announce the 2022 WIOA Summit will take place in a hybrid format on April 28 - 29, 2022.

The Committee invites local programs to share their expertise with the workforce system through presenting at the 2022 WIOA Summit. 

Deadline - January 28, 2022. Submit your presentation here.
On Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 3:00 - 4:30 pm CENTRAL time, The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) will present a webinar focused on best practices for recruitment, retention and leadership for women in apprenticeship and nontraditional occupations to ensure underrepresented populations are included in the pipeline for infrastructure jobs.

The webinar features speakers Wendy Chun-Hoon, Director - U.S. DOL Women's Bureau; Angela Hanks, Acting Assistant Secretary - U.S. DOL Employment and Training Administration; Lauren Sugerman, Director - Center for Women's Employment Equity; Karen Drove, Executive Director - Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women; Latonya English, Senior Director - Hampton Roads Workforce Council; and Cristina Barillas, Chair - Chicago Women in Trades Board of Directors.

Learn more about the webinar and register here.
Learn more about the USDOL Women's Bureau here.
In an effort to increase transparency and analyze outcomes, the Evaluation Workgroup of the Continuous Improvement Committee overseen by the IWIB was charged with designing an evaluation tool to review programs, policies, and processes overseen by the IWIB.

Over the past year, the workgroup has worked to create a comprehensive Evaluation toolkit to evaluate programs, policies, and processes within the workforce system. They have implemented an equity lens from the Equity Task Force in creating this framework. The goals of the toolkit are to:

  • Provide a workable toolkit for evaluation to review programs, policies, and processes across the workforce, education, and economic development system. 
  • Analyze evaluation results to determine if results conform to intended outcomes leading to continuous improvement at the local level.
  • Ensure processes remain valid and lead to organizational and management change

This Evaluation Toolkit is adapted from the 2020 Department of Labor Evaluation Toolkit: “Key Elements for State Workforce Agencies.” The Evaluation Committee made edits to the Toolkit to make it applicable to programs, policies, and processes throughout the State Workforce System. The toolkit consists of three sections: An executive summary and evaluation checklist, the toolkit itself, and a fillable forms section. There are also videos throughout the toolkit from past Workforce Wednesday Webinars.

The workgroup is in the process of finishing edits to the toolkit and partnering with programs, policies, and processes to pilot the work. The Continuous Improvement Committee continues to provide guidance throughout this process.

To view informational webinars and learn more about how to use evaluations to improve workforce system services, visit the USDOL Evaluation Hub.
Veterans add immense value to the workplace through the military experiences and skillsets they acquire during their service. Even more important than the technical skills they learn while ‘in service,’ the Armed Forces instill the kind of soft skills that are highly desired by private employers. Military service gives veterans experience in leadership, delegating tasks, communicating effectively, and having ownership of their work and behavior. Veterans are fast learners by necessity; their military experience often included learning new tasks quickly and sometimes under pressure. Those who have served in the military are also effective team builders, having spent years unifying people with diverse backgrounds and ideologies to build the camaraderie needed to work together to achieve common goals.
In Illinois, a group of employers are collaborating to adopt an intentional approach to hiring veterans. Under the Illinois Hires Heroes banner, employers agree to post their job openings on Illinois Job Link and participate in Hiring Heroes events throughout the year. These employers commit to participating in at least one veteran-focused Human Resources training initiative and implementing specific retention programming that support veterans.
Click here for information on the Illinois Hires Heroes Consortium or contact:
Did you miss a session at the 2021 Forum for Excellence? We're happy to announce that all the sessions from the Forum for Excellence are now online! There's a lot of great content to select from, so allow us to help you out with a couple of suggestions:
Building Bridges: Best Practices in Educating Justice-Involved Individuals
Jeffrey Abramowitz, Executive Director of Reentry Services at JEVS Human Services explores the challenges and barriers facing adult learners who have been touched by our criminal justice system. Best practices and resources are shared to help us all work to build the bridges needed for career success.
The Impact of Racial Campus Climate on Advancing Equity in CTE 
Jewel Bourne, Marci Rockey, Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, and Colvin Georges Jr. from the Office of Community College Research and Leadership discuss the importance of understanding the racial campus climate in advancing racial equity in Illinois community colleges. They share information and resources to support assessing racial campus climate in advancing racial equity in CTE programs.
Watch all the sessions from the 2021 Forum for Excellence here.
On October 20, 2021, Illinois workforce partners celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness month with an Identity and Innovation Summit. This free virtual summit focused on recruitment, hiring, and retention of disabled workers who identify as transgender or non-gender conforming and/or people living with HIV. The all-day event showcased local and national experts and stakeholders covering three key areas of policy, practice, and professional development as they relate to working with these underserved communities.

All sessions from the day were recorded and can be accessed here.
CTE month celebrates the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.

The Association for Career and Technical Education has provided lots of suggestions and resources to help you plan ahead to celebrate and promote Career and Technical Education. Learn strategies for advocating for CTE here.

Additional Resources

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Wonderful 2022!

The ICSPS Newsletter will return in January. On behalf of everyone at the Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support we wish you all a safe and happy new year and healthy and happy holiday season!