Workforce Development in Chicago: Exploring the Context, the Programs, and the Policies
Chapin Hall is engaged in a number of projects that explore issues around workforce development programs with a particular focus on the Chicago area.
CWICstats: Chicago Workforce Development Research and Data Initiative
In 2009, Chapin Hall launched the CWICstats Chicago research and data initiative, which is focused on collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information on the performance of Chicago-area workforce development programs. CWICstats was initially developed to provide research and information in support of the Chicago Workforce Investment Council (CWIC). CWICstats provides policymakers and funders with reliable data and analysis on the workforce development system and its outcomes. As part of this initiative, researchers match administrative program data from partner agencies to wage data in order to understand employment outcomes before, during, and after participating in workforce programs. CWICstats researchers produced a regular program “benchmarking report” using meaningful performance measures for policymakers and managers. These data were also used as part of several CWICstats research studies to better understand the participants in these programs, their experiences during program participation, and ultimately their employment outcomes. In addition, a quarterly “dashboard report” provided key local labor market indicators for policymakers, program managers, and the public was produced and made available on Chapin Hall’s website. With the evolution of the CWIC organization to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (the Partnership) in 2012, the workforce research efforts continued as Chapin Hall’s CWICstats (Chicagoland Workforce Information Collaborative), engaging the Partnership as well as other agency and program partners to pursue needed research and data efforts to promote a more effective workforce system in Chicagoland.
Workforce Development Research in Support of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership
In 2012, the City of Chicago and Cook County consolidated their workforce development efforts under the new Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (the Partnership). In support of the Partnership, Chapin Hall researchers continue analysis and research with workforce program administrative data that began under the CWICstats workforce research and data initiative. These research efforts focus on advancing ways to assess workforce program performance measures. Also, Chapin Hall maintains the Chicagoland WIA-certified training program resource guide website, which provides training program information and outcomes to consumers.
Chicagoland WIA-Certified Training Program Resource Guide Website
In partnership with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Chapin Hall maintains the WIA-Certified Training Program Resource Guide website, which is available at: www.ChicagolandWIAtraining.com
The website provides information on Chicagoland Workforce Investment Act (WIA)-certified training programs for several types of users, including those seeking training, WIA case managers, and employers hiring training participants. Descriptive information on the training providers and programs is provided, as well as information about program outcomes of WIA participants. The website is updated quarterly in order to provide up-to-date information on local WIA-certified training programs to all users. Other resources include information about WIA-certified training programs in Cook County and outcomes based on WIA training participants. The scope may be expanded to include additional geographic areas or programs.
Chicago Workforce Development Programs: System Map and Inventory
Chapin Hall researchers developed an overview of federal, state, and city workforce development programs within the City of Chicago. This report provides an inventory of programs with a general description of the types of services, program eligibility, and the policies and funding supporting the programs. The report also features a map of the Chicago workforce development system, with a graphic depiction of program administration.
Chicago’s Labor Force in Context: How Chicago’s Population, Local Economy, and Labor Force Have Changed over Time and How They Compare to Other Cities
During the recent economic downturn, many questions were raised about how to improve the local Chicago economy and reduce high unemployment rates. To help understand the extent of the problem and to begin identifying ways to address challenging economic conditions, this report places Chicago’s economic experience within a broader context, assessing how Chicago’s population, workforce, and industries have changed over time and how they compare to other cities. This report provides longitudinal and comparative analysis of the Chicago economy and labor force to inform workforce development policymakers about the changing characteristics and experiences of the workforce. This analysis uses U.S. Census data to describe the population, industries, and labor force of Chicago over time and to compare them to other major metropolitan areas. The report includes analysis on population and demographic characteristics, industries in the local economy, employment and labor force participation, and several special topics, such as younger workers, older workers, those currently enrolled in education while employed, and family income inequality.
Inside the Black Box: What Makes Workforce Development Programs Successful?
The workforce development system in Chicago and nationwide is multifaceted and includes public and private training providers that work with individuals of all ages and abilities. Broadly, the programs within the system aim to train their participants while preparing them to (re)enter the workforce, graduate them from the programs, and place them into jobs. Some programs experience greater success at these goals and have more lasting effects than others. To help identify why these programs are more successful at placing people into employment amid such variety is critical, especially during times of high unemployment when the tasks of finding and retaining employment are highly competitive. This study looked at several successful programs in Chicago for adults; it attempts to understand the factors that may explain why they achieve success of different types, and how these factors may be quantified or measured to help improve the system. The report assessed the influence of a range of factors, from individual participant characteristics, program and practice elements, provider organizational aspects, and the broader set of external relationships, on achievement of successful outcomes for workforce development programs. Intersecting with all of these factors is the role data and outcomes play in how programs achieve and understand their success. Specifically, the study identified the influences within each of these levels that lead to programs’ success, how and if these factors are currently measured, and recommended improvements to the data collection methods and data system that currently exist within the workforce development system.
Chicago Career Tech Job Training Program Evaluation
The Chicago Career Tech Job Training Program Evaluation is devoted to assessing employment outcomes of its training participants. The program is an intensive 6-month, 6-day-a-week technology training and subsidized-wage program for dislocated white collar workers in Chicago. This evaluation has two components: (1) gathering and assessing Chicago Career Tech program participants’ employment outcomes by surveying participants 90 days after completion of the program, and (2) analyzing administrative data to assess employment outcomes for one year after program completion and comparing outcomes of Chicago Career Tech participants to a matched sample of similar training participants from other programs. This evaluation will help the Chicago Career Tech program determine their program’s impact on its participants in terms of achievement of positive employment outcomes.