For Immediate Release

Second Annual Chicagoland Workforce Development Symposium Convenes on October 12 at Malcolm X College

“Moving Equity from Concept to Reality” Symposium Features Discussions of ‘Real World’ Solutions to Challenges of Bringing Equity to Workforce Development”


CHICAGO – Cook County, World Business Chicago, Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, The Chicago Community Trust, Origami Works Foundation, and The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) are convening the second annual regional workforce development symposium tomorrow, Thursday, October 12. The day-long symposium offers a unique chance for workforce development professionals to share best practices regarding ensuring equity is top of mind while building the regional workforce. The symposium, meant for workforce practitioners, is being held at Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.

The Symposium’s opening speakers include, in speaking order: Juan Salgado, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago; Toni Preckwinkle, President, Cook County Board of Commissioners; and Matt Bruce, Executive Director, Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance. The keynote speaker is Clair Minson, nonprofit leader and racial equity consultant, Sandra Grace Counseling and Consulting Services. The closing speaker is George Wright, CEO of The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.

Attendees have a choice of breakout sessions throughout the day, featuring public and private sector leaders sharing ‘real world’ success (and failure) stories of infusing equity into workforce development, as examples from which others can learn and utilize in their day-to-day work. Topics range from “Creating Strong Employer Partnerships to Push for Inclusive Change” to “Public Health Equity and its Impact on Workforce” and “Bridging the Workforce and Homeless Response Systems.” Attendees will also benefit from discussions such as “Partnering for Success in Fair Chance Hiring: The Relationship Between Employers and Workforce Organizations,” and “From Concept to Action: Implementing Equitable Solutions Within the Workforce Ecosystem at the State and Local Levels.”

“Last year’s inaugural Symposium was a great success so we thought we would make it an annual event 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.

Building on the opportunities for learning and connections, Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President, will officially announce its investment to support the launch of the Innovation Nexus, a new resource that serves as a platform for the local workforce development, education, and business communities to collectively address challenges associated with building and retaining the talent pipeline.

Current projects of the Nexus include Chicagoland CareerPathways and Talent Solutions Connector, which allow job seekers to virtually explore and map career pathway options, and introduces employers to the organizations and services available to support their talent needs. Although many employers cite difficulty finding talent, the Illinois Workforce Investment Board estimates that only 3% of private sector employers utilize the public workforce system.

“Cook County has prioritized investments supporting workforce development and talent solutions to ensure economic growth in the region,” said President Preckwinkle. “The Nexus platform represents an innovative approach to connect workforce, business, and education resources to advance economic equity and meet the needs of job seekers and employers.”


About The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance

Since its founding ten years ago, the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance (CWFA) has engaged over 30 funders to advance its shared mission of collaborating with employers and other workforce stakeholders to increase employment, earnings, and racial equity for underprepared workers in the Chicago region. The Funder Alliance is known as the region’s principal convener of the philanthropic community interested in workforce development and employment. Through grant-making and civic leadership, CWFA has used this role to carve out a unique position at the complex intersection of workforce development, social justice, education, and economic development. In 10 years, CWFA has invested more than $20 million across a diverse set of initiatives and projects, close to $7 million of which came from national funding partners who might not otherwise have invested in Chicagoland. Learn more about CWFA and its initiatives at and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn

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