For Immediate Release

Careers in Construction Month Celebrates Hardworking Men and Women of Construction

The construction industry is a driver of economic growth in Chicago and Cook County 


CHICAGO – October is Careers in Construction Month, and  The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) is shining a light on the hardworking men and women in the construction industry. The monthlong nationwide campaign promotes public awareness of construction careers, while inspiring the next generation of those interested in the skilled trades.  


“The construction industry remains a driver of economic growth, offering jobs with career-pathways and family-sustaining wages,” said Interim CEO Patrick Combs. “There are currently more than 71,000 people working in the construction sector in Cook County, and its aging workforce offers a unique opportunity for entrants to bring new skills and abilities to this important work.” 


The median salary in the sector in Cook County is $53,000 a year, with construction managers and civil engineers earning some of the highest wages. Ninety percent of those in the sector identify as male, approximately 45% are more than 45 years old and nearly 50 percent identify as White. 


The Partnership works with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (The Tollway), the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), and the City of Chicago to recruit and place individuals in the construction sector. Since 2018, The Partnership has served more than 2,300 candidates for apprenticeship programs and private contractors working on projects in the state. The Partnership works to ensure that women and people of color, who have traditionally been excluded from these unionized career opportunities with family-sustaining wages, have access to a career in this sector. 


Construction Works Powered by the Illinois Tollway 

ConstructionWorks is a free program designed to link job seekers with opportunities for rewarding careers in Illinois’ high-demand, transportation-related construction industry. The Partnership has enrolled over 1,000 candidates in the program. Nearly 390 ConstructionWorks candidates have been placed on construction projects, and more than 65 have been hired to work on Tollway projects. For example, Terry P. Jr. is a Laborer Journeyman who lost his job and was collecting Illinois Department of Employment Security unemployment benefits. He was hired three months after enrolling in the ConstructionWorks program by Walsh Construction to work on an Illinois Tollway project. Terry received supportive services such as gas cards, work boots, and past-due union fees, which helped him to return to work. 


CTA Red Purple Modernization (RPM) 

Meet Reginald M., Marshawn C., Angel D., and others from the Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team – some of the hardworking people behind the CTA Red Purple Modernization (RPM) project. The Partnership has helped place over 30 workers on the CTA RPM Project. The CTA RPM Project is a major infrastructure initiative that has built a new track line for the Brown Line bypassing the existing Red and Purple tracks at the Belmont Transfer Station. Additional updates will bring four northside stations, over 100 years old, up to current standards including Americans with Disability Act Standards for Accessible Design (ADA): Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr. These updates also include new tracks and structures to support smoother more efficient ridership. To help low-income individuals and/or dislocated workers get access to jobs and skills training, the CTA has partnered with The Partnership to link interested individuals who are enrolled in a program funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Act, live in an assigned zip code area, or are United States Department of Labor Apprentices for CTA RPM project’s prime contractor, Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team. Those interested in learning more about the CTA RPM Project, visit here: CTA RPM Candidate Interest Form  


Jackson Park Mobility Improvement Project 

CDOT is working on roadway changes and mobility improvement projects in Chicago’s Jackson Park to support the Obama Presidential Center and the Chicago Park District’s South Lakefront Framework Plan. The Partnership, CDOT and F.H. Paschen are collaborating to bring these career-pathway jobs to Chicago, connecting residents with construction jobs on the project. The Partnership is working directly with F.H. Paschen and its subcontractors to fill construction trade positions to give on-the-job training experience to pre-apprentice, apprentice, and journeyman construction workers. The project requires that the contractor achieves a 50% City of Chicago residency hiring goal, 15% of which must be filled by residents in the Project area, as well as hire Dawson Technical Institute’s Illinois Department of Transportation Highway Construction Careers Training Program graduates to address today’s workforce shortage. Here are some of the people bringing that project to life. Those interested in learning more about the Jackson Park Mobility Project, visit here: CDOT Candidate Interest Form 



Learn more about The Partnership’s Construction Initiatives at or email us at  

About The Partnership

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) is a non-profit umbrella organization operating the public workforce system for the City of Chicago and Cook County.

The Partnership combines federal and philanthropic resources to provide comprehensive workforce development services to employers and job seekers. As the largest public workforce development system in the nation, The Partnership has helped place more than 70,000 individuals in employment; collaborated with more than 2,000 employers; and administered more than $400 million in federal and philanthropic funds. The Partnership’s network consists of 90+ community-based organizations, American Job Centers, satellite sites and sector-driven centers, serving more than 140,000 people annually.  Learn more at