FY 2016
YTD totals




Make no small plans: Revamping higher education strategy in Illinois

Ben Smith

As the new head of  Oliver Wyman's Chicago office, I wanted the office to be more active in the civic community. I looked at various options for myself and the office, and Civic Consulting Alliance offered an ideal way to get involved. I reached out to the Civic Consulting team and was able to work with them to craft an initial opportunity through which Oliver Wyman's skill sets could be best leveraged.

Earlier this year, a team from Oliver Wyman began its second project with Civic Consulting: a strategy project focused on higher education in Illinois. Charged with increasing the number of Illinois residents with a postsecondary education credential, we developed fourteen initiatives that would enable the state to help more people obtain degrees and certificates of value. Our work resonated ---when we presented the initiatives to the three state agencies working in higher education in Illinois, they were eager to engage the team further to identify specific initiatives to implement.

Part of what made this project so successful was the flawless integration of the Oliver Wyman and Civic Consulting teams. The Civic Consulting team provided the necessary political and educational expertise, which complemented our knowledge of strategy and analysis. This engagement with the community has been powerful for our entire office, and it's something none of us will forget.

Milestone achieved, more work lies ahead in criminal justice reform
Pro Bono Partners:

Nearly nowhere is the need for criminal justice reform felt so greatly as in Cook County, home of the nation's second largest single site jail. The thousands of residents detained at the jail daily risk losing their jobs or being expelled from school ---before their cases have gone to trial. The price for taxpayers is also high: At $143 per inmate per day, Cook County Jail costs more than $300 million annually.
Recognizing these human and financial costs, in 2013,  the Illinois Supreme Court commissioned an audit to look into how to decrease the jail population. The audit report detailed 40 recommendations to release more low-risk detainees without endangering community safety. To implement these recommendations, the Court has relied on Civic Consulting Alliance, our pro bono partners, and others for ongoing support since 2014. Since then the average daily jail population has gone down by 20%.

Earlier this month, the Illinois Supreme Court announced that all 40 recommendations from the audit have been completed. "Thanks to the work of Civic Consulting Alliance and our region's criminal justice stakeholders, we have addressed all 40 audit recommendations and achieved a vital development in our ongoing work to improve the justice system in Cook County and Illinois," noted Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.
While more work remains to enhance the administration of justice in our region, the completion of the audit's recommendations represents an important milestone and lays the foundation for greater collaboration among criminal justice stakeholders for future reforms.

For more information on this project, please contact  Asheley Van Ness.

Analysis suggests challenging trajectory for Chicago labor market
Over the past decade, the United States has experienced a significant loss of middle-wage jobs and rapid growth in low-wage employment. In Chicago, the polarization of economic opportunity is particularly troubling ---but no clear picture of where the labor market is heading is available. As such, Civic Consulting Alliance and pro bono partner  A.T. Kearney set out to learn how technological advancements and economic growth might work together to shape the future labor market.

The team applied a scenario-planning approach to Chicago's regional labor market. The findings show the potential for a disturbing trajectory: Even in the best-case scenario of strong economic growth and the growth of technology as a collaborative tool (rather than replacing human employees), the city will continue to struggle to create middle-wage jobs.

Conceptual scenarios of job growth

This analysis will help shape Civic Consulting's work going forward, ensuring workforce-oriented projects are targeted at the biggest opportunities facing the city---growing jobs and quality of life for those who work in the region.

For more information on this project, please contact Owen Washburn.


In other news...
  • Since 2011, Civic Consulting Alliance and ten pro bono partners have invested more than $5 million in projects aimed at increasing tourism in Chicago. Earlier this month, Choose Chicago announced that in 2015, more than 50 million domestic tourists visited Chicago, with total (domestic plus international) expected to exceed 52 million once international visitors are included. Tourism generated $15 billion in direct spending, a 34 percent increase since 2010, and 139,800 jobs, an increase of 15,000 since 2010.

  • On May 6th, First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA) honored Cook County Public Defender and Civic Consulting Alliance client Amy Campanelli for her extraordinary commitment to protecting the legal rights of Cook County's most vulnerable members. On behalf of everyone at Civic Consulting, we congratulate Amy on her well-earned award.
Questions? Comments? Interested in writing a guest article? Please email  Leslie Glotzer  with any newsletter feedback.

Civic Consulting Alliance is an affiliate of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.