Latest News

  • Thursday, March 12, 2015 

    TAKE ACTION – Make your Voices Heard Against Harmful Cuts

    Illinois’ new Governor has proposed slashing billions of dollars in order to balance the state budget. These cuts will devastate low-income workers and families across Illinois with cuts to human services, Medicaid, subsidized childcare, and higher education.

    The testimony agenda for the Illinois Department of Human Services’ (IDHS) Senate Appropriations budget hearing on March 16 has been finalized. If you were interesting in testifying but did not make it onto the agenda, there are many opportunities to make your voices heard:

    • SPEAK OUT: If you know of an individual who would be impacted by the proposed cuts and that person is willing to be interviewed by the media, please fill out a form by clicking here.
    • SHOW UP:  IDHS’ Appropriations Hearings March 16th in Chicago and March 19th in Springfield (click here for more information on both hearings). Share how specific funding has assisted you or your community by brining written testimony to either hearing. Please limit testimony to one page. Organizations may also submit a written statement on letterhead stressing the need for revenue to fund essential programs.
    • USE SOCIAL MEDIA: Remember to use social media to amplify our united voice. Follow the Chicago Jobs Council on Facebook and Twitter for the latest budget updates and also follow our friends at the Responsible Budget Coalition (Facebook | Twitter).  Be sure to use the hashtags #NoCuts & #Twill when tweeting your message against the proposed cuts.

    If you need any assistance with sharing your stories as testimony, with the media, or on social media or have any questions, please contact:

    • Dan Lyonsmith, Director of Policy & Advocacy | or 312.252.0461
    • Andrés Moreno, Senior Communications & Outreach Associate | or 312.252.0467

    Thank you for your continued partnership, and please spread the word on opportunities to speak out against these devastating cuts!

    P.S. Did you miss yesterday’s Day of Action Budget Rally in Springfield? Click here to view photos from yesterday’s successful event!


    (Update) TAKE ACTION – Share How Budget Cuts Affect Your Family and Community

    The time for the Monday, March 16 hearing has been moved from 9:00am to 10:00am and is now scheduled to end at 1:00pm. Witness slots for testimonies are now FULL for the March 16 hearing. Be on the lookout for other ways you can share your story and speak out against these harmful cuts.

    If Illinois’ proposed budget passes, low-income workers and families across Illinois will continue to endure slashes to human services, Medicaid, and higher education.

    Do you have a story to share about how budget cuts will affect your family and community? There will be two Public State Senate hearings to discuss the real impact of the Governor’s proposed budget cuts to the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS):

    • DHS Hearing — Monday, March 16 from 10:00am – 1:00pm | Michael A. Bilandic Building – 160 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago
    • HFS Hearing — Monday, March 23 from 9:00am – 12:00pm | Michael A. Bilandic Building – 160 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago

    If you have a testimony to share (or know someone who does) for the March 23 hearing, please contact Jim Picchetti at (312) 714-8706 or by Thursday, March 12 to coordinate (witness slots are now full for the March 16 hearing). Those who plan to attend either hearings must be at the Bilandic Building by 8:30am with photo ID in order to get through security. For more information, click here to view a flyer for the hearing and be sure to spread the word!

  • Thursday, March 5, 2015 

    TAKE ACTION — Springfield Day of Action Budget Rally

    Governor Rauner has proposed an irresponsible, devastating, and unfair budget. If passed, low-income workers and families across Illinois will continue to endure slashes to human services, Medicaid, and higher education. As the negotiations begin, we need to be in Springfield and make it clear that we won’t be pitted against each other.

    Organizations across the state are planning a Day of Action in Springfield Wednesday, March 11. Participants (including Chicago Jobs Council staff) will visit legislators and coordinate actions inside and outside of the capitol building that illustrate the budget’s impact on our communities.

    Please plan to join fellow advocates next Wednesday! The more people in Springfield on March 11, the higher the risk to Governor Rauner and the state legislature if they pursue this harmful budget.

    If you need assistance with planning your Springfield trip, please contact:

    • Dan Lyonsmith, Director of Policy & Advocacy | or 312.252.0461
    • Andrés Moreno, Senior Communications & Outreach Associate | or 312.252.0467

    If you are unable to travel to Springfield, please contact your lawmakers today and tell them how continued cuts will negatively impact your community. Find your legislator’s contact information by clicking here. Spread the word and we look forward to seeing you in Springfield on March 11!

    (Did you read our response to the Governor’s budget address? Click here to read it).

  • Wednesday, March 4, 2015 

    Springfield Day of Action – Push Back Against Proposed Budget Cuts!

    Governor Rauner has proposed an irresponsible, immoral  and disastrous budget.  As the negotiations begin, we need to be in Springfield and make it clear that we won’t be pitted against each other.

    Organizations across the state are planning a big Day of Action in Springfield on Wednesday, March 11 as  part of a national day of action – where people in 16 states are rising up to take back their statehouses! Participants will visit legislators and coordinate actions inside and outside of the capitol building that illustrate the budget’s impacts in our communities.

    The more people in Springfield on March 11, the higher the risk to Rauner and the legislature if they pursue this harmful budget.

    If you need bus transportation to Springfield, please contact the following individuals as soon as possible to reserve transportation:

    Spread the word and check back for additional updates on the March 11th Day of Action!

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015 

    Announcing the Chicago Jobs Council’s New Executive Director

    The Chicago Jobs Council is excited to announce that Carrie Thomas has been selected as its new Executive Director, effective March 1, 2015! In addition to her seven years of experience as CJC’s Associate Director, Carrie gained valuable experience while working with the Jobs Now Coalition and The Employment and Opportunity Project in Minnesota. In addition, she worked with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, Project Hope, the Erikson Institute and the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School in Chicago. Read more about the decision in an open letter from CJC’s Board President, John Plunkett, by clicking here.

  • Monday, February 23, 2015 

    Governor’s Budget Devastates Workers: Will Undermine Illinois’ Recovery

    For some, Illinois’ economy is in recovery. But for many more, the recession continues unabated. Over 400,000 working families are poor or near poverty in Illinois—50,000 more families than in 2007. The unemployment rate in some communities is 30%.  Black Illinoisans suffer a 14.4% unemployment rate.

    Instead of creating opportunities, Illinois’ new Governor has decided that struggling jobseekers and their families are not important to Illinois’ economic future.  Illinois will never prosper if it sacrifices services for Illinoisans who seek work. The cuts proposed by the new Governor will devastate workers and communities across the state.  They will push more people into unemployment.

    In his budget address, the Governor called for “shared sacrifices” to close a $6 billion deficit. But he has targeted the most vulnerable Illinoisans to bear the burden of his cuts, without asking those who thrive to pay their share. That does not resemble any type of “sharing” we’re familiar with.  In contrast, the budget outlined is hyper regressive – hurting you more, the poorer you are.

    Low-income workers and families in Illinois have endured slashes to human services, Medicaid, and higher education for years. Now, the Governor targets subsidized childcare, funding for transit, higher education, youth services, and more. This will exacerbate the challenges people have getting jobs and undermine the health of Illinois’ economy.

  • Friday, October 24, 2014 

    Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Resources

    President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014.  The law passed with a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House and Senate and it reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act for six years from 2015-2020.

    In order to track the important changes made by this legislation to our national workforce system, a WIOA resource page was created on the Chicago Jobs Council’s Workforce and Information Resource Exchange (WIRE), which can be accessed by clicking here.

    In addition to the WIRE, you can also monitor the implementation of WIOA on the following websites:

    If you have any questions about WIOA, please contact Steve Simmons, Senior Policy Associate at 312-252-0435 or or Liz Czarnecki, Senior Policy Associate at 312-252-0458 or


    Representative Bellock Joins the 21st Century Workforce Development Fund

    The Illinois Works for the Future campaign is excited to announce that Representative Patti Bellock has been appointed to the 21st Century Workforce Development Fund’s Advisory Board.  Representative Bellock is the Deputy Republican Leader in the Illinois House and the Republican Spokesperson on the Human Services Appropriations Committee.  She also serves on the Labor and Commerce and Mass Transit Committees.  Her district covers part of DuPage County and includes the communities of Elmhurst, Oakbrook, and Clarendon Hills.  Welcome to the Advisory Board, Representative Bellock, and thank you for your willingness to serve!  We look forward to working with you.

    In other news, the Fund’s Advisory Board decided during a recent meeting to focus its work specifically on expanding strategies targeted to job seekers with the most barriers to employment.  The Board plans to work on increasing resources for workforce development.  One project involves exploring the opportunity to bring additional federal funding from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program’s Employment and Training program (SNAP E&T) to Illinois. For more information on the Fund, click here.


    Urban Weatherization Initiative Update

    The Urban Weatherization Initiative (UWI) is a statewide program designed to improve low income urban areas by training unemployed residents to weatherize homes and requiring contractors to purchase materials locally. The Illinois General Assembly created UWI in 2009 as part of the State’s Capitol Bill and authorized up to $425 million for the program.  The Illinois Works for the Future campaign and Chicago Jobs Council have been strong advocates of UWI and have called for the passage of state legislation HB3827, which would make several important legislative changes to the program.

    UWI has recently come under scrutiny from the Better Government Association due to the program’s outcomes and other challenges with the program’s design, namely the requirement that contractors have to pay UWI program graduates according to the State’s Prevailing Wage Act.  A link to an October 13th Chicago Sun-Times story on UWI can be found by clicking here.

    In other news, UWI’s Advisory Board recently awarded a new round of grants for its two training programs, Home Energy Auditor and Weatherization Specialist, and a third program, Residential Weatherization, that pays for energy upgrades to homes in low-income urban areas.  The full list of new UWI grantees is as follows:

    Home Energy Auditor ($4 million to 16 grantees, $250,000 per grantee)

    • Albany Park Community Center
    • Asian Human Services
    • Black United Fund
    • Diversified Alliances
    • Genesis Housing Development
    • Gordies Foundation
    • North Lawndale Employment Network
    • Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action
    • Quad County Urban League
    • Resource Center for the Westside Communities
    • Reassemble Education and Training
    • REM Services
    • Southwestern Illinois College
    • Tri-County Urban League
    • Utilivate
    • XL Academics

    Weatherization Specialist ($3.75 million to 15 grantees, $250,000 per grantee)

    • Albany Park Community Center
    • Black Star Project
    • Coalition for United Community Action
    • Emerson Park
    • FORUM
    • Illinois YouthBuild Coalition
    • North Lawndale Employment Network
    • Peoria Citizen’s Committee for Economic Opportunity
    • Quad County Urban League
    • REM Services
    • Southwestern Illinois College
    • Urban League of Metro St. Louis
    • Utilivate
    • Vision of Restoration
    • Youth Conservation Corps.

    Residential Weatherization Program ($8 million to eight grantees, $1 million per grantee)

    • CCS/YouthBuild
    • Diversified Alliances
    • Energy Savers Remodelers
    • Latin United Coalition
    • Proviso Leyden Council
    • Quad County Urban League
    • Urban League of St. Louis
    • W&M Insulation

    If you have any questions about UWI or would like to support our advocacy on behalf of the program, please contact Steve Simmons, Senior Policy Associate, at 312-252-0435 or


    In Memoriam

    IWF and CJC are saddened to learn of the passing of a longtime supporter and friend, Dennis McCann.  Dennis worked for the People’s Resource Center in Wheaton and helped found the West Suburban Jobs Council where he served as Vice President until his retirement in July.  CJC awarded Dennis the 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of his numerous contributions to improving the lives of disadvantaged job seekers.  We will always remember Dennis for his warmth, passion for advocacy, and commitment to improving the lives of job seekers with the most barriers to employment.

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