Is Chicago An Ideal Place To Work? Answers To Come

Sunny weather has finally hit our shores and it looks like summer is here to stay; however, many Chicagoans are still wary of the employment climate in and around the city. In partnership with the Chicago Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is going to dig for some answers to figure out how the Tri-State Chicago Metropolitan Region compares to other major international metropolises when it comes to workplace development. On June 20th, UWMC convened a group of key United Way leadership from Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana as well as other workforce development funders to sit down with the OECD and provide thoughtful feedback on the upcoming territorial review. The conference room buzzed with conversation over the effectiveness and efficiency of employment policy and the relationship between non-profits and the government. The OECD has never done a study in the U.S. and they are excited to enlist the Chicago region as their first. Former study sites include Montreal, Toronto, Cape Town, Istanbul, as well as areas in Mexico, Chile, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, China, and Korea. The OECD has conducted approximately 50 similar studies in all. United Way joined the ranks of the OECD study because we hear daily from our funded agencies and community partners that policies and programs need to address the root causes of poverty and unemployment to actually bring about change in the lives of Chicago families. This innovative study will look at the competitiveness of our region in the global economy as well as innovation capacity, green technology, energy, information technology, workforce capabilities, transportation and logistics, and global connectedness. The study will last approximately 18 months and the United Way seeks to remain engaged throughout the process to provide feedback and bring important stakeholders to the table to ensure that the plan put forth from the research and results of the study will include the needs and challenges of the most disadvantaged workers. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Annette Charles, Director of Community Investment-Income with United Way of Metropolitan Chicago at

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