Chicago city seeks to jumpstart the local economy

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Hire Chicago, a new collaborative effort, has been working to find jobs for Chicagoans. Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and a program collaborator, said more than 15,000 jobs are available from just under 300 employers on their system. 

“There’s a big awareness gap which is part of why we’re doing workshops every week,” Norrington Reaves said. “People don’t know about the jobs in transportation, distribution or logistics or what it means to be in a hospitality industry, what are the career paths forward, what are the starting wages.” 

This week’s workshops and prescreening events in transportation, distribution, and logistics have been dubbed “Hire Chicago Month” by the collaboration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Chicago area had an 8.5 percent unemployment rate in June, down from 15.1 percent in June 2020. 

Norington-Reaves believes this data is not completely accurate because “it’s based on survey data” and “doesn’t measure everyone.” “What we know is that on the ground in our communities, if you are Black, if you are Brown, if you are male between the ages of 20-24, those numbers are actually greater than that 8%,” Norington-Reaves said. 

According to Norington-Reaves, this program targets the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and with the highest poverty rates. 

So far, African Americans have shown the most interest, accounting for approximately 64 percent of all inquiries. Job seekers came from over 49 different Chicago communities and 62 ZIP codes, with 30% from the South Side and just under 20% from the West Side. 

Source: WTTW News 

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