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Our Demand-Driven Workforce Efforts Highlighted by VP Biden

job seeker at hiring event

Innovative public-private partnership highlighted as national model announces launch of ‘playbook’ to address long-term unemployment

CHICAGO—July 22, 2014—Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (SCF)—a public-private partnership working to close the skills gap in Chicago and Cook County by helping to match businesses that have current, unmet hiring needs with qualified, unemployed job seekers—was showcased today as President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, bipartisan legislation that aims to improve the U.S. workforce development system and help put Americans back to work.

In conjunction with the signing event, Vice President Biden issued a report entitled “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity,” in which Skills for Chicagoland’s Future was recognized as a national leader in reducing unemployment through its ground-breaking, demand-driven partnership model. In response to requests for sharing best practices to support replication of its success, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future has developed an online demand-driven playbook. The playbook will serve as a blueprint for organizations interested in creating, transforming into or operating a demand-driven business intermediary as well as tools to operate a demand-driven model. A preview can be found online now at www.SCFplaybook.com; the full playbook will be available in late August. The SCF Playbook is made possible by support from The Aspen Institute’s Skills for America’s Future.

SCF was created in conjunction with the City of Chicago and Cook County to close the workforce skills gap, drive business growth and move the unemployed of Chicago and Cook County into open positions by directly responding to the hiring needs of employers. SCF partners with Chicago-area employers to identify their unmet hiring needs and obtain from them commitments to hire unemployed job seekers through SCF’s services. SCF provides recruitment, placement and training services at no cost to the job seeker.

Since its launch in September 2012, SCF has placed more than 1,000 unemployed job seekers into jobs with 30 companies, including JPMorgan Chase, United Airlines, CDW, Seaton, GoHealth and HMSHost, making it one of the only nonprofits in the nation to secure annual commitments from employers to hire unemployed job seekers.

“We applaud the White House’s support for innovative solutions to workforce development and long-term unemployment,” said SCF President and CEO Marie Trzupek Lynch. “Skills for Chicagoland’s Future has demonstrated that demand-driven employment strategies work—delivering real benefits to businesses, unemployed job seekers and the local economy. Through the online playbook, we can now share our learnings with communities and organizations across the nation that have been seeking information about our proven, demand-driven model.”

In January, Lynch served on an expert panel for employers during the White House Summit focused on strategies to reduce long-term unemployment. Since then, SCF has continued to implement innovative strategies to get the long-term unemployed back to work, including:

  • Securing 370 additional hiring commitments from employers for this year—including a new partnership with national insurance provider Aetna—for a total of 1,000 commitments in 2014, up from 750 in 2013
  • Launching an innovative Optimum Employment program with Gap, Inc. and Alta Bicycle Share to provide seasonal employees with 12 months of continuous employment
  • Creating a first-of-its-kind public awareness advertising campaign to combat the stigma of the long-term unemployed

Those interested in receiving alerts on the completion of the playbook can sign up at www.SCFplaybook.com.


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