For Immediate Release

Chicagoland Workforce Development Symposium Addresses Regional Workforce Development Solutions in Post-Pandemic Economy

Leaders and Practitioners Gather for Inaugural Day Long Discussion During Workforce Development Month



CHICAGO – Cook County, World Business Chicago, the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, and The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) are convening an inaugural workforce development symposium tomorrow, Friday, September 23. They will share best workforce development practices that include promoting equity and inclusion and planning for the future in a post-pandemic economy. The event, called “Bringing Us Together in a Changing Landscape,” features workforce development leaders from across the Chicago region to develop successful strategies for workforce development and economic recovery. The symposium, meant for workforce practitioners, is being held at Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.

Only a few years ago, terms like “social distancing,” “the Great Resignation,” and “the Quiet Quit” were not part of the workforce development lexicon. The symposium will gather those who work in this sector to share lessons learned and examine local and national trends in policies, practices, and partnerships that impact workforce development. Employers and job seekers have experienced unprecedented change over the past few years, culminating in the current workforce shortage and record low unemployment numbers.

The day begins with welcoming remarks from Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and a keynote address from Brent Parton, Acting Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration (ETA), U.S. Department of Labor. He will deliver remarks entitled “Supporting Workers Morning, Noon, and Night,” focusing on describing ETA’s Workforce Vision, which lays out the main pillars of its plan for revitalizing the country’s workforce system in this decade. The day closes with remarks by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Attendees have a choice of breakout sessions and plenary panels throughout the day, covering topics ranging from reducing racial disparities in employment, identifying workforce strategies to reach young adults, and working with those reentering the community after incarceration.

“Today, we are seeing a historic transformation within our region’s workforce that produces challenges for employers and employees,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “With labor force participation decreasing, the skills gap widening, and industries still struggling to recover post-pandemic, it is vital for us to convene an event like this one, which will allow us to come together and create long-lasting solutions for these issues.”

“Cook County has prioritized investments supporting workforce development and talent solutions to ensure economic growth in the region,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Convenings like this bring a breath of fresh air to this critical work, encouraging us all to apply new skills and solutions when working with job seekers and businesses whose experiences have changed dramatically over the past few years.”

“Since September is National Workforce Development Month, we thought it would be a great opportunity to convene workforce practitioners for a day of learning and connection,” said Matt Bruce, Executive Director of the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance. “Collaboration is critical in our industry to make progress on our region’s workforce challenges,” he added.

The Chicago Jobs Council also participated in producing the event.

The agenda can be found here.

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