CHICAGO — More than 1,000 unemployed and underemployed Chicago residents could have new jobs this year after nearly 50 employers vowed to hire more people from that pool.
Skills for Chicagoland’s Future announced its hopes and plans to place 1,200 job seekers with new employers this year. Forty-nine employers have already signed on to assist with the goal. This comes after Skills’ success in 2016, when the organization was able to help 1,120 people find new jobs with more than 40 employers in the Chicagoland area. Thirty-four percent of those job seekers had been unemployed for an average of 12 months. Eighty-one percent were African-American, while almost half lived in the South and West Side neighborhoods, which both have unemployment rates from 8.9 percent to 13.9 percent.
Skills, which has been in operation since the fall of 2012, has helped place almost 4,000 people into positions with more than 60 companies.
"Despite the improving job market, many qualified unemployed and underemployed job seekers struggle to get hired because they don't have a strong network," said Marie Trzupek Lynch, founding president and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland's Future. "Job seekers in high-unemployment, high-poverty neighborhoods are more likely to face this 'access gap,' so I'm proud that Skills' 2016 impact was once again the greatest in these Chicago communities.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel also spoke about the program.
"Skills for Chicagoland's Future is an important city partner that has put Chicago on the cutting edge for developing solutions to reduce unemployment,” he said. "Every one of these 1,120 placements changes a life, strengthens a family and lifts up a community. I applaud all of the employers that have committed to hire through Skills in 2017, and I'm calling on our business community to step up and help Skills surpass their goal again this year."
Those looking for employment in Cook County can create a Skills profile here.