Examines the significant role middle-skill jobs have in stabilizing the economic recovery of the Chicago metropolitan area, as well as considers contextual factors such as high-growth industries, economic challenges, and education and training structures.

“This report discusses the importance of middle-skill jobs to the Chicago area’s economic recovery and analyzes labor market information to identify specific high-growth career opportunities in healthcare and transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL). It also describes the economic obstacles that disproportionately affect some residents, outlines the challenges facing the region’s education and training system, and offers recommendations for stakeholders to develop a demand-driven career pathways system that better connects workers to good jobs in growing industries” (p.8).

“Looking ahead, the region’s employers have coordinated an impressive effort to strengthen the city’s economic growth. Regional leaders have now turned their attention to workforce development – in particular, addressing the mismatch between the skills that workers currently have and the skills required by the region’s industries. With the leadership of education and workforce system stakeholders and organized involvement of employers, the region is poised to scale up its workforce development efforts to ensure that businesses have the talent they need to grow and compete. This, in turn, will help the many residents who still need opportunities earn middle-class wages and overcome continuing high levels of unemployment, underemployment and poverty” (p.8).

(Abstractor: Author)

Full Publication Title: Growing Skills for a Growing Chicago: Strengthening the Middle-Skill Workforce in the City that Works

Major Findings & Recommendations

“At this critical moment, coordinated and employer-driven workforce development is essential to creating sustainable economic opportunity for Chicago area residents. The Chicago region is unusual in that it has both strong service and manufacturing industries. With an effective workforce strategy, this economic diversity has the potential to allow workers to transfer skills between industries and maximize career opportunities” (p.22). Author recommendations include: • “Develop employer leadership in strengthening the talent pipeline” (p.7). • “Continue to link workforce entities across sectors in a way that builds on and connects existing sector strategies” (p.7). • “Build on the region’s established work in career pathways to identify new opportunities in high-demand, middle-skill occupations” (p.7). • “Build on the region’s robust data capacity and create a critical feedback loop between employers and providers” (p.7). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)