Chicago Community Trust Helps the City Get Back to Work

Although Chicago's unemployment rate is one of the highest in the nation, it's slowly getting better — and we have the Chicago Workforce Investment Council and Chicago Community Trust (CCT) to thank. CCT has been contributing $300,000 annually to the Chicago Workforce Investment Council to put towards community development and career training. The Council monitors over $350 million of public investments each year to train employees and coordinate job resources across the city to support the regional economy. The most recent CCT grant went towards the Council's Back-to-College initiative and general operating support. (See Chicago Community Trust: Chicago Area Grants).

The Council was originally called the Chicago Workforce Board and formed in 2000. It's led by a group of top business and civic leaders, and has developed into the largest public workforce program in the city. The non-profit acts as a cabinet to advise the mayor about workforce issues, shape how the city uses public funding to improve the workforce, and monitor performance of workforce investments. CCT grants funds to the Chicago Workforce Investment Council as part of its Community Development program. Other recent Community Development grantees include the Action Now Institute, Bethel New Life, and Alternatives.

At this time, CCT is only accepting requests for proposals (RFP) during the November application period for job training a placement programs. RFPs are released on November 15 and proposals are due January 1 for this type of grant. If your workforce non-profit organization is seeking a grant from CCT, your programs must support job training and placement programs that generate economically sound benefits. Make sure that your programs demonstrate practical initiatives to place individuals into jobs with livable wages, train workers to meet performance measures, and implement programs that enhance firm productivity. (Read CCT senior program officer of workforce development, Jim Lewis' IP profile).

CCT acknowledges that Chicago has had a slow recovery from the recession and that high unemployment levels continue to be a serious problem in the area. Simply put, CCT's labor-based grant making strategy is well-grounded and targets the root of the city's unemployment problem. All grant seeker inquiries should be directed to CCT Senior Program Officer, Jim Lewis, at