By Chrissy Mancini Nichols
Apr 22, 2010
This post first appeared in at metroplanning.org
Last week MPC and Microsoft convened a small group of workforce experts to discuss how the Chicago region can take advantage of the economic development and workforce potential of emerging business sectors, such as transportation, distribution and logistics, smart technology, and green industries.
While the region has lost more than 275,000 jobs since February 2008, forecasts show that the demand for workers in these industries will grow. For example, the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative charted almost $6 billion in recent and anticipated federal and local green investments to the region, creating jobs for clean water, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency projects. Yesterday, the region was awarded a $25 million grant to make residences and commercial buildings more energy efficient.
We were joined by Penny Pritzker, chair of the Education and Training Subcommittee of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Pritzker is working with employers and other workforce stakeholders to provide the President recommendations on how to get workers properly trained and back in jobs. Some proposals include partnerships between employers and community colleges, a technology matching tool for job seekers, federal grants to states to reform community colleges under the President’s American Graduation Initiative, changes in the tax code to encourage worker education and training, reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, and scaling up of local economic development and workforce models that work.
Chicago presents some promising models for national replication such as the Chicago Workforce Investment Council (CWIC), which aligns workforce development, economic development, and education across the entire city; and Chicago Career Tech, which is providing an innovative approach to training middle-income residents with technology skills.
MPC is now working with the group to provide Pritzker with specific workforce development recommendations for federal action. Check back to the MPC blog for an update!