CWICstats Chicago Workforce Research and Data Initiative
Matthew Stagner, Robert Goerge, Elizabeth Weigensberg, Shannon Guiltinan, Lauren Sartain, Colleen Schlecht, Dan Black
In 2009, Chapin Hall partnered with policymakers and program stakeholders of Chicago’s workforce development system to launch CWICstats, a research and data initiative that collects, analyzes, and disseminates information on the performance of Chicago area workforce development programs. The idea for CWICstats emerged from the need for consistent and reliable data on the workforce development system in Chicago to achieve the goals of improving the skills and earning potential of residents, meeting the labor needs of local businesses, and strengthening Chicago communities. CWICstats was initially developed to provide research and information in support of the Chicago Workforce Investment Council (CWIC). 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.
To support the information needs of the Partnership and other workforce development stakeholders, including policymakers and program administrators, CWICstats researchers at Chapin Hall provide reliable data, analysis, and information on the workforce development system and its outcomes. Specifically, CWICstats researchers match administrative program data from partner agencies to wage data in order to understand individual residents’ work experiences before, during, and after participating in workforce programs. Workforce program data is being used from several state and city agencies, including the Illinois Department of Economic Security, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Chicago Public Schools, and the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. This data is used to support several areas of research activities, including the following: (1) assess the performance of workforce programs, (2) provide information on the current status of Chicago’s workforce and labor market, and (3) engage in additional research projects studying areas of innovation and the achievement of education and employment outcomes. These research efforts will provide a more comprehensive picture of Chicago’s labor force and the effectiveness of workforce development programs, and will serve as a foundation for additional research projects.
Funding to support CWICstats and related research activities has been provided by the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, the former Chicago Workforce Investment Council, The Chicago Community Trust, the Searle Family Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, The Boeing Company, the Ford Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Steans Family Foundation, and the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.