For Immediate Release

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) Is Recipient of $18.5 Million Good Jobs Challenge Grant from U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)

City of Chicago and World Business Chicago Support and Assist Winning Application

CHICAGO –The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) is the recipient of a U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) Good Jobs Challenge grant. The Partnership will be awarded $18.5 million through the EDA’s Good Jobs Challenge for employer-led workforce development. Chicago’s proposal, submitted with the support and assistance of the City of Chicago, World Business Chicago and Cook County, is one of 32 awardees out of 509 applications from all states and territories.

The Partnership is the non-profit umbrella organization that operates the largest public workforce system in the country. As the designated administrator of federal workforce development funding for the City of Chicago and Cook County, The Partnership oversees a network of more than 90 community-based organizations, American Job Centers, satellite sites, and sector-driven centers.

The EDA launched the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge to get Americans into quality jobs by building and strengthening systems and partnerships, bringing together employers who have hiring needs with other key entities to train workers with in-demand skills that lead to good-paying jobs.

“In its notice that our proposal had been chosen, the EDA stated that it stood out for ‘its ability to create good job opportunities for Americans to help local industries and economies develop the skilled workforce needed to innovate and complete globally,’” says Partnership Interim CEO Patrick Combs. “We are thrilled to have been chosen in such a competitive process and look forward to investing these funds to foster employer-led workforce training in high-demand, high-growth sectors, to reach underserved communities with career-pathway job opportunities.”

“On behalf of the City of Chicago, I am proud to congratulate The Partnership for winning one of the EDA’s Good Jobs Challenge grants,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “These grants support organizations that are doing phenomenal work to upskill individuals and connect them to good-paying, in-demand careers. For years, The Partnership has done just that for our residents, and I am excited to see how this grant allows them to deepen this important work through Good Jobs Chicago.”

The winning proposal, dubbed Good Jobs Chicago, is an employer-led, community driven initiative to promote economic resiliency and growth for Chicago and Cook County. The region enjoys strong, proven, and ready-to-scale sector partnerships for healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, and transportation/distribution/logistics (TDL). Good Jobs Chicago will create durable, resilient talent pipelines through to mid-level jobs, linking Chicago’s un/underemployed residents into jobs that pay family wealth-building wages. Good Jobs Chicago is focused on meeting the needs of communities suffering from intergenerational poverty exacerbated by the pandemic, particularly on the South and West sides of Chicago and Cook County.

The structure of Good Jobs Chicago consists of four backbone organizations and several support agencies.

  • Manufacturing backbone: The Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, the lead convener of the successful south suburban collaborative, the Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership.
  • Transportation/Distribution/Logistics backbone: Olive-Harvey College, a member of the public City Colleges of Chicago system, which serves 77,000 students annually, in partnership with YWCA, The Partnership’s WIOA sector center for TDL, will work together in leveraging existing programs, employer advisory committees, and employer partnerships.
  • Healthcare backbone: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, Illinois’s leading health workforce research and policy organization, houses a coalition of 12 of Chicago’s major health systems and more than a dozen strategic partners.
  • Information Technology backbone: P33, staffs the Chicago Tech Talent Alliance, composed of more than 50 businesses that collaborate on joint talent solutions.
  • Support agencies include Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance (organizing and staffing a community of practice across the backbone organizations, coordinating shared strategies around partnerships, systems change, and worker empowerment); World Business Chicago (employer relationships across all four sectors, coordination with City of Chicago Mayor’s Office and other public workforce investment funds); LISC (financial literacy), Women Employed (inclusive workplaces and equity training).

The phases of Good Jobs Chicago include System Development, which will capitalize on opportunities and tackle structural challenges; Program Design, which involves engaging employers to create high-value programs, and Program Implementation: training candidates to fill industry needs. Backbone entities, employers, and other stakeholders will design training programs that fit employer needs and are tied to employer hiring commitments. Occupational skills training, credential programs, on the job training, apprenticeships and incumbent worker training initiatives will focus on 16 high demand, high growth occupations across the four target sectors, with a total of 2,000 individuals trained and 1,800 placed over the three-year life of the grant.

A barrier reduction fund to support individuals in training will support The Partnership’s unwavering commitment to serving people who face multiple barriers to employment and will allow for support and services people need to secure family sustaining employment.

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