Photos by Brooke Collins

It’s About More Than Job Placement, We Are Empowering Our Residents

Chicago Mayor’s Office
3 min readApr 6, 2016


Mayor Rahm Emanuel

As a single mother, the experience of being unemployed was stressful and frustrating for Chicago resident Juwana Dorsey.

No matter how many applications she sent out or how well the job lined up with her experience, she would never receive a response — until she reached out to Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (Skills) who helped her secure a job at Rush University Medical Center.

“After I connected with Skills and applied for the position at Rush, my Skills recruiter prepared me for my interviews and stayed in touch throughout the hiring process until the day I got my job offer. I finally feel like my life is back on track.”

Skills for Chicagoland’s Future is about bringing public and private partners together to bridge more Chicagoans to more jobs — with most coming from areas that are struggling the most.

As a result of the partnership with the city, Skills will place more than 1,100 residents in jobs this year and 5,000 by 2018.

I’m especially proud that city funds have been responsible for 60 percent of the job placements since 2012.

But it’s not just about getting placed in good jobs today. It’s also about receiving training that will lead to even more job and educational opportunities that are the real keys to a stronger tomorrow.

As our great Secretary of State Jesse White likes to say, “You can only wear that cap and gown by earning a degree, and not from the Sidewalk University.”

So Skills for Chicagoland’s Future connects our communities to our companies, and gets more Chicagoans on the road to a stronger future.

And they do it by recognizing the untapped talent and incredible potential that exists across our city. But this progress only proves that we can serve even more Chicagoans by working even closer in the months and years ahead.

Rush Hospital has pledged to add 50 full-time positions in collaboration with ‘Skills’ this year. Job seekers came from twenty different Chicago zip codes with most from neighborhoods with high unemployment.

The proof that ‘Skills’ is making a difference extends beyond the workplace and into each of our communities. Every individual connected to a job is one more person able to support their family and strengthen a community.

From Freedman Seating in West Humboldt Park to Yelp in the central business district, ‘Skills’ is good for our neighborhoods and good for Chicago.

A steady job is usually the determining factor in whether a resident has a stable home. No Chicagoan’s ability to make a living should ever be determined by their zip code.

The example of institutions like Rush and hardworking residents like Juwana shows what happens when we all come together to invest in Chicago’s communities.

Skills for Chicagoland’s Future is about much more than putting people to work — it is about empowering our residents. Because when every Chicagoan can earn a living, they can truly start making a life.