Chicago Federation of Labor
Chicago Federation of Labor Workers Assistance Committee is a project of the Chicago Federation of Labor Workforce and Community Initiative
Chicago Office, 130 East Randolph Street, Suite 2600, Chicago, IL 60601; West Suburban Office, 9930 Derby Lane, Suite 203, Westchester, IL 60154
The Chicago Federation of Labor Workforce and Community Initiative (“CFL Initiative”) was founded by the Chicago Federation of Labor in 1994 to assist manufacturing workers displaced by massive layoffs due to plant closures regain meaningful and sustainable employment.
The CFL Initiative is dedicated to developing and strengthening the skills of Chicagoland workers facing barriers to employment. Specifically, we assist veterans, dislocated workers, and returning citizens with training and employment programs. We connect job seekers to employers throughout Chicagoland. We offer programs to give job seekers the tools and training they need to be successful. Employers tap into our pool of skilled and screened workers who have the work experience to contribute to a company’s growth. We help match companies and unions with funding to ensure their workers have competitive skills.
As active partners in workforce development and education, we identify issues, develop solutions and share best practices from what we learn from job seekers and employers. We advocate for strengthening worker training and promoting lifelong learning.
- Manufacturing Sector: Manufacturing Renaissance (MR) and Chicago Federation of Labor Workforce and Community Initiative have worked in collaboration over the past year to build out the expansion of MR’s Manufacturing Connect program in Chicago Public Schools with success. There are 20,000 jobs in manufacturing in the Chicago region that are going unfilled so this kind of program is not only important for our students but critical for the strength of the manufacturing sector. The Manufacturing Connect program is more than a traditional vocational program in that it prepares students for careers in all aspects of manufacturing including production, but also in management and ownership. Students learn technical engineering skills, on-the-job problem solving and advanced machining. MC graduates are now securing excellent jobs in local manufacturing companies. CPS has agreed to expand this program to other schools. This has involved important discussions with the manufacturing sector, law-makers, city leaders, and educational institutions and is attracting national attention. The Chicago Teachers Union is a key partner as well as a financial supporter of this effort. The CFL Initiative is working as a sub-grantee on the Next Gen Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) Apprenticeship Program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Next Gen IMT program addresses the critical need for a pipeline of entry level manufacturing workers through the development of registered apprenticeship programs over a five-year period. Currently, 20,000 high paying manufacturing jobs in the Chicagoland area are going unfilled due to a lack of workers. The CFL Initiative intends to narrow this gap by preparing Chicagoland workers for high paying jobs in the manufacturing sector.
- Returning Citizens: The CFL Initiative is proud of our new strategic partnership with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150 U.A. building career opportunities for Returning Citizens at the Cook County Sheriff’s Vocational Rehabilitative Impact Center (VRIC) at Cook County Jail. The CFL Initiative has provided job readiness services to VRIC’s nonviolent felony offenders between the ages of 17 and 35 since 2001. This exciting partnership expands our job development opportunities for VRIC graduates as they gain the skills to access career opportunities with pathways for advancement. The CFL Initiative provides the necessary supportive services and mentorship to guarantee graduates enter sustainable employment as proud union members and lifelong learners. The CFL Initiative intends to expand this program over the next year to engage additional partner unions and impact a larger group of returning citizens with employment opportunities and training assistance.
- TDL Sector: Our partnership with the Utility Workers Military Assistance Program, City of Chicago, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and City Colleges assisting veterans with training and employment opportunities at People’s Gas is an ongoing highlight of our Dislocated Worker Program. This past year, we have worked in partnership with the Teamsters Military Assistance Program to develop high paying, local jobs with benefits as CDL drivers with a partner high road business. The transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL) industry is facing a severe talent gap due to rapid industry expansion. We are working at the front end matching displaced workers and veterans with the training and employment opportunities to develop career pathways in the TDL field. The CFL Initiative is excited to expand our work into the TDL industry and continue serving our veterans with the training, certifications and employment opportunities to support themselves and their families.
- Healthcare: The CFL Initiative provided healthcare marketplace and Medicaid outreach, education, and enrollment services to under-served Illinois consumers navigating the complicated health system under the Get Covered Illinois In Person Counselor (IPC) grant. For our third consecutive open enrollment period, our IPC team provided Illinois residents with the outreach and education services to build healthier communities by accessing needed health care and avoiding the high tax penalty for being uninsured. Specifically, the CFL Initiative targeted our services to dislocated workers, self-employed workers without insurance, and returning citizens.
Facebook: CFL Workers Assistance Committee
The CFL Workforce and Community Initiative, formerly CFL Workers Assistance Committee, is a unique 501(c)(3) developed, supported and endorsed by the Chicago Federation of Labor in 1994. We work closely with education institutions, community organizations, labor, and business associations to meet the needs of job seekers. Our reach extends into the areas of workforce development, education, community building, and other services focusing on manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, distribution and logistics and other industries.