For Immediate Release

Message from The Partnership CEO: The Labor Day Workforce Challenge

CEO Karin M. Norington-Reaves is offering media availability to discuss workforce development in Chicago and Cook County during the weeks of September 6 and September 13.

Message from The Partnership CEO: The Labor Day Workforce Challenge

As we prepare to observe Labor Day on Monday, September 6, our nation and our region face serious workforce issues, as the data below reveals:

  • Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, four federal unemployment benefit programs expire on Saturday, September 4. More than 11 million Americans will see their benefits reduced or eliminated.
  • Those looking to return to work at this time face a greatly altered economy, with 4 million fewer total jobs today than there were in January 2020.[1]
  • Locally, these job losses have contributed to more than 75 million unemployment insurance claims in Cook County since the start of the pandemic.[2]
  • Some left the workforce (or changed careers) in “The Great Resignation,” and a variety of industries now report a workforce shortage. A recent survey found 55% of Americans expect to search for a new job over the next year.[3]
  • The Partnership CEO Karin M. Norington-Reaves authored an opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune on May 14, 2021, addressing the various root causes of this shortage.

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership has the resources and the knowledge of the local economy to help those whose jobs have been eliminated return to the workforce and to help employers access the skilled workers they need.



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

[2] Illinois Department of Employment Security; Total monthly initial unemployment insurance claims in Cook County, March 2020 – July 2021.