$56 million grant awarded to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership to create 600 contact tracing jobs to combat the spread of COVID-19

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Dear Friend,

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) is proud to announce our collaboration with education and research partners University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health (UIC), NORC at the University of Chicago, Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, and Sinai Urban Health Institute, on the creation of 600 Contact Tracing jobsIa companion effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Black and Latinx communities we seek to train and employ a diverse public health labor force that reflects the communities most deeply impacted by this disease.  

With a $56 million grant awarded by The City of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health, The Partnership will lead the creation of the City’s community-based COVID-19 Contact Tracing Corps and provide “Earn and Learn” opportunities which will allow corps members to develop skills and progress along career paths in the healthcare field through credential-bearing programs offered by Malcolm X College and UIC’s School of Public Health 

“A robust and comprehensive contact tracing program is key to containing the spread of COVID-19 and further driving down the number of new cases,” said CDPH Commissioner, Allison Arwady, M.D. “We insisted that this program not only focus on communities most impacted by the virus but that The Partnership and its sub- delegates hire from these neighborhoods to build the contact tracing corps. In that way, this will operationalize an important tool in the fight against COVID- 19 and create thriving wage jobs.”  

This initiative represents an alignment of the public health and public workforce systemsa first of its kind effort. Creating critical career opportunities to communities in need during a time when unemployment is at historic levels, while also contributing to the public health fight against the pandemic represents the best of what our systems have to offer. The grant specifies 85% of the funds awarded must be sub-granted to at least 30 community-based organizations. These groups are vital as trust and familiarity are the foundation of any successful contact tracing effort.    

The Partnership will open applications for the RFP process in late July. Community-based organizations interested in applying can visit Chicago.gov/contacttracing for more information.  

 A list of target communities can be found here 

Information is forthcoming for contact tracing employment opportunities, our website will be updated regularly. If you’re interested in becoming a contact tracer please email us at tracing@chicookworks.org  


Karin M. Norington-Reaves
Chief Executive Officer