2022 Impact Report:
Celebrating a Decade of Getting Chicago Back to Work
We believe that everyone should have equal access to jobs. At Skills, we work to make that possible by reducing barriers to employment through partnering with leading companies who are ready to hire unemployed and underemployed job seekers.
Browse our 2022 Annual Impact Report to learn how we are committed to growing our impact by scaling our demand-driven programs, diversifying job types, and driving innovation. Our end goal is to place even more unemployed and underemployed job seekers into roles that drive their career growth and financial mobility.
How We Work
We know that what hinders job seekers more often than the “skills gap” is the “access gap”, so we flip the traditional workforce development model and start with the job. Working with our network of employer partners, we identify long-term hiring needs and connect unemployed and underemployed talent directly to open roles. We reduce barriers to employment and impact economic mobility in Chicago’s historically underinvested communities by working with our hiring partners to eliminate barriers that disqualify candidates unnecessarily.
The Skills team served 13,000+ local job seekers through application screening, hiring events, community partner referrals, and our career development programs in 2022. Below is a demographic snapshot of the local talent we placed into quality jobs with leading local and national companies committed to inclusive hiring by reducing barriers to employment.
job seekers placed into roles by Skills
of placements identify as female
of placements are 24 or younger
average age of placements
of candidates list their highest education level as high school diploma/GED or some college
of placements identify as BIPOC
of placements identify as African American or Black
of placements identify as Hispanic or Latinx
10 Years of Bridging the Access Gap
Learn about our impact since Skills' inception in 2012.
job seekers placed into roles by Skills
of placements identify as female
of placements identify as BIPOC
of placements are from the south and west sides
total wage impact
Embedded in the Community
Skills Neighborhood Link locations were developed to partner with and provide resources and support from the Skills team in neighborhoods, as part of our commitment to reducing barriers to employment and building access to economic opportunity. Our co-located sites serve as a hub for employers, job seekers, and the community at large. To date, we’ve hosted job fairs, meetings with funders and partners, and appointments for local candidates to meet with our team.
In 2021, we opened the doors to our first Skills Neighborhood Link location, co-located with the Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation at 815 W. 63rd Street, on Chicago’s south side.
In 2022, we brought staff to co-locate with with the North Lawndale Employment Network at 1111 S. Homan Avenue, on Chicago’s west side.
In 2022, over 70% of our placements are local talent from Chicago’s south and west side neighborhoods:
Top Placement Neighborhoods
|1. Austin||6. North Lawndale|
|2. South Shore||7. Chatham|
|3. Auburn Gresham||8. Englewood|
|4. Greater Grand Crossing||9. Woodlawn|
|5. Roseland||10. South Chicago|
Delivering More than a Job
Our Career Access programs connect job seekers with long-term careers and pathways into middle skill roles by combining quality jobs with coaching, mentoring, professional development, and educational opportunities.
Partnering with leading local companies to develop career pathways for job seekers, the Pivot to Success program impacts job seekers looking for more than a job. Participants are fast-tracked from an entry-level job into short-term education at no cost—all while receiving mentorship and guidance to help them achieve a promotion and begin progressing along their career journey as stackable credentials are completed.
Job seekers can put their recently attained credentials to use through the Credential Connection program. After completing a training or certification program with a partner organization, participants receive job readiness training and have access to customized professional development through resume prep, interview prep, and employer-tailored guidance. Upon program completion, our team will submit qualified candidates to our employer partners currently hiring.
Career Access Success Story
Nursing Support Assistant at UChicago Medicine
Latrice was previously working in home care but decided it was time to pursue new opportunities. In her search, she received an email from Skills about becoming a Nursing Support Assistant (NSA) with UChicago Medicine through Skills’ Pivot to Success program. Latrice was enticed by a position that involved educational opportunities, work experience, and pathways to career advancement.
After connecting with the Skills Pivot to Success program in 2022, Latrice secured a position with UChicago Medicine as a NSA Extern. Finishing at the top of her class, Latrice concluded her externship and clinicals on July 30, 2022, and is now a full-time NSA at UChicago Medicine.
“Jay, Yesenia, and Cecily were three people I worked with the most. The team was the support system I needed from the beginning to the end. I am forever grateful for them as well as the Skills program. My life has changed just like I wanted it to and I’m happy to go into work each shift.”
Our 2022 Employer Network
Our team helps to connect employers to a diverse pool of local job-ready unemployed and underemployed talent. We are proud to have partnered with these employers who hired Skills job seekers in 2022.
Since 2017, we’ve partnered with Jewel-Osco to hire close to 1,000 job seekers throughout Chicagoland. Even during the pandemic, they continued to be one of our most active employer partners. With nearly 350 Skills placements over the past two years, Jewel-Osco has hired people into various roles including Cashiers, Department Manager Trainees, Pharmacy Technicians, Store Manager Trainees, Warehouse Associates, and more.
In 2022, throughout the month of August, we were honored to have Jewel-Osco support Skills through their Register Round-Up Campaign at 180 Jewel-Osco locations across Chicago and the surrounding suburbs! Anyone who shopped at Jewel-Osco in August had the opportunity to add $1, $3, $5, etc. to their purchase at checkout. $379,161.25 was raised, and all funds contribute to our mission of creating economic opportunity for Chicago’s unemployed and underemployed.
We are proud and incredibly grateful for Jewel-Osco for their loyalty and dedication to getting Chicago back to work.
A global financial institution with a strong retail presence throughout Chicagoland, Bank of America is dedicated to hiring candidates from diverse and historically disinvested communities and preparing candidates for ongoing career opportunities. They are committed to helping all of their employees become strong teammates, grow professionally, and lead better financial lives.
With over five years of financial support, including grants for our Career Pathways programming, Bank of America has also hired more candidates in 2022 than in previous partnership years. They have employed job seekers across various roles including Advanced Client Solutions, Relationship Banker, Wealth Management Associate, Client Services Representative, and more.
Additionally, Bank of America announced that Skills for Chicagoland’s Future was chosen as one of two Chicago nonprofits to receive the 2022 Neighborhood Builders Award! This recognition includes a $200,000 grant and leadership training to help us continue to get the unemployed and underemployed back to work across Chicagoland.
One of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, AIM Specialty Health boasts a collaborative, innovative, impact-driven culture. They are invested in the local community and committed to developing leaders from within.
In 2022, approximately 10% of the customer service team hires for AIM Specialty Health were filled through Skills. Additionally, Skills hires for 2022 achieved a 90-day retention rate of 83%, making the retention rate the highest amongst all Skills partners!
Personal Success Stories
Meet a few job seekers who were either placed into jobs or promoted in 2022 with the help of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future.
Our Community & Strategic Partnerships team dedicated their efforts in 2022 to deepening engagement with our network of local workforce partners and generating more efficient and effective candidate journeys. In 2022, the number of candidates hired through referrals increased through an optimized process. Our team is also growing our community partnerships in South and West Side neighborhoods, working with partners located in the community to better serve local talent. Currently, Skills has staff co-located with two local partners in Englewood and North Lawndale.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Skills’ intentional approach to diversity, equity & inclusion, is woven into the fabric of our work with external stakeholders and in our company culture. The three pillars of DEI at Skills are: the quality and diversity of jobs we offer candidates, how we inclusively communicate our work internally and externally, and making space for our staff to bring their full selves to work.
The Voices of our Staff (VOS) group at Skills formed to create opportunities for staff to embrace a culture of inclusion and promote cultural diversity at Skills. VOS is a safe space for the open sharing of ideas and to support voice and agency for the team. The annual focus of the VOS group is informed by the entire staff through surveys and engagement activities to identify events, holidays, and recognition months that are significant to them. VOS then organizes panels, celebrations, and informational discussions around these priorities. Some of the events that took place in 2022 include:
- “I am Woman” Breakfast for Skills’ staff who identify as women. This event was held on International Women’s Day.
- Themed lunches to highlight food from different cultures (i.e. AAPI lunch from Taste of the Philippines)
- Black History Month Trivia
- “Beyond the Binary” discussion with staff for Pride Month
- Neighborhood Mural Walk in Pilsen with staff for Hispanic Heritage Month
- Juneteeth Edition Jeopardy
Our staff members are encouraged to participate and share their unique views at all VOS events.
Celebrating Our Impact
On October 4th, 2022, we celebrated ten years of getting Chicago back to work! In person at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, and with over 700 guests in attendance, we highlighted the people who have been directly impacted by our efforts while honoring community and corporate partners who have been integral to our success.
View our Annual Employment Champions Breakfast with this 90-seconds recap video.
2022 Employment Champions Breakfast Award Winners
Champion for the Unemployed
10-Year Employer Partners
10-Year Advocate & Community Partners
|Association House of Chicago||Cara Chicago||Chicago Department of Aviation||Chicago Department of Family and Supportive Services||Chicago Scholars|
|Chicago Urban League||City Colleges of Chicago||CRED Chicago||Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation||Greater West Town Community Development Project|
|Growing Home||Heartland Alliance||Illinois Department of Employment Services||LIFT-Chicago||Mercy Home for Boys & Girls|
|Metropolitan Family Services||New Moms||Noble Network Alumni Network||North Lawndale Employment Network||Paul Simon Job Corps|
|Phalanx Family Services||Preservation of Affordable Housing||Saint Sabina Employment Resource Center||Teamwork Englewood||Urban Alliance|
Greg & Anna Brown
& Rachel Kohler
Margot & Tom Pritzker
|AT&T||Michele Carlin||Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.||CNO Financial Group||Deloitte|
|Ingredion||Joe & Stacey Blasko||Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago||MetLife||Michael D. Scimo Family|
|Midway Partnerships||Motivate, LLC||Nazneen Razi||NorthShore University HealthSystem||Northwestern Medicine|
|Polk Bros. Foundation||Unum||UPS||Walmart||Wanxiang America Real Estate Group|
|Abbvie||AllPoints Security||Chicago Blackhawks Foundation||CBRE||John Challenger|
|The Chicago Community Trust||Jeff & Connie Childs||CDW||Freedman Seating Company||Grainger|
|David Hiller||Mark & Pam Kendall||Kin + Carta||Korn Ferry||Lenovo|
|Mondelez International||ORBA||Preservation of Affordable Housing||Protiviti||Shaker Recruitment Marketing|
|Glenn Tilton||University of Chicago Office
of Civic Engagement
|Voya||The Donald E. Thompson & Kathleen Wilson-Thompson Family Fund||WTW|
Expanding Beyond Chicago
In 2022, we announced that Skills for America’s Future, a national expansion initiative operated by Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, has partnered with Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation to bring the jobs-first model to Phoenix, AZ. Phoenix will now be the third affiliate, including Chicago and Rhode Island, but the first “Powered by Skills” affiliate. This relationship creates a bolt on solution that is additive, not duplicative to an established organization seeking to provide workforce solutions.
We are proud that our model is a best practice as we continue to work with cities and regions across the country and to better serve employers and job seekers across the country. Learn more, stay connected, and get engaged by visiting www.SkillsForAmericasfuture.org.
A special ‘thank you’ to the donors supporting the national expansion work: the Aviv Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation, Dennis and Joan Berger, Mike and Cindy Bonds, the Community Focus Fund at the Chicago Community Foundation, Mark Hoplamazian and Rachel Kohler, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Mark and Pam Kendall, Art Margulis, Joe and Elizabeth Pomerenke, Stand Together Foundation, Suffolk Cares, the Donald E. Thompson and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson Family Fund at the Ayco Charitable Foundation, and Walmart.org.
Cummulative Impact from Chicago and Rhode Island
The Skills model has proven successful in two vastly different geographies. In both Chicago and Rhode Island, Skills has placed hundreds of unemployed and underemployed individuals into jobs each month.
people placed into jobs
of placements identify as BIPOC
Skills is proud to be one of the founding organizations of the Community Based Organization Collective (CBO Collective) and currently acts as the fiduciary partner.
The CBO Collective exists to provide employers with a central point of access for local talent that face barriers to employment. It was formed to increase employment of Chicago’s south and west side residents by aligning corporate demand with a collective workforce development approach. Driven by the spirit of inclusivity, 16 founding non-profits have organized for systems change. Through the shared efforts of member organizations, the CBOC Collective is able to place hundreds of additional people into jobs, on top of the cumulative thousands who are served independently.
CBO Collective Members
|JPMorgan Chase & Co.||Llody A. Fry Foundation||AT&T|
|World Business Chicago|
Corporate, Foundation & Government Funders
Creating sustained impact requires the funding support of many individuals, corporations, foundations, and government organizations.
The support we received in 2022 truly impacted the job seekers we were able to place, their families, and the entire region.
Thank you to the individual donors who helped support Skills mission throughout 2022.