Regional Initiatives

The Workforce Partners' successful alliance is based on the knowledge that the metropolitan Chicago area represents a regional economy and, therefore, the challenges in developing a highly skilled workforce that meets the current and future needs of employers are shared across the metropolitan area and counties. Collectively the Workforce Partners are more effective in promoting the regional strategies and policies that address workforce needs, advocating for innovative practices that support such policies, and leveraging resources to address regional issues and advance change. Activities undertaken by the Workforce Partners of Metropolitan Chicago are designed to influence and inform issues impacting the quality of the regional workforce. Click HERE for the Regional Workforce Plan.

Regional Activities and Products

  • Apprenticeships

    WPMC received a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to hire and support two regional Apprenticeship Navigators. Working primarily in the Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics sectors (and the technology related to these sectors), the Navigators are working with local business service teams or resource teams to identify employers interested in establishing or expanding apprenticeship programs, including pre-apprenticeship and youth apprenticeship programs. For more information on apprenticeships please click HERE.


  • Incumbent Worker Training

    The Workforce Partners of Metropolitan Chicago are working together on incumbent or current worker training projects.  We have completed regional training projects by business with a variety of businesses, such as Ford Dealerships and we have completed regional training projects by occupation such as equipment maintenance management with multiple TDL businesses across the region.  We are targeting projects that cover at least three of the seven workforce areas in our region and often have State grants and other resources to cover incumbent worker training costs under certain conditions.  If you are interested in discussing the development of a regional incumbent worker training program, please contact:  [email protected], or click HERE to reach any of the local area incumbent worker training contacts.  See photos from one of the regional incumbent worker programs by clicking HERE.


  • Regional Business Services Team

    Business Services Team staff from each local workforce area develop a regional team with the goal of coordinating business services across the region.  This will include addressing needs of regional businesses, integrating core partner agencies (and other partners in the future), identifying and sharing best practices, discussing challenges and identifying solutions, and engaging in professional development activities.  Staff from every local area in the region are meeting regularly at different locations throughout the region to collaborate on this endeavor.


  • Past Successes 

    Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing program

    The Workforce Boards for DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties brought together their respective local WIA Programs, One-Stop Centers, economic development organizations, industry associations and manufacturers in the region to apply for and received a $2 million grant award for the Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) program.  The ATIM program was designed to work with employers in developing workers for high demand manufacturing jobs. Training focused on providing individuals with skills and industry credentials needed for the following occupations: CNC Operators, Welders, Mechanical Engineering Technicians, Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinists, and Electronic Repairers/Robotics Technicians. Trainees demonstrated attainment of occupational competencies prior to placement in paid work experiences and internships or employment. The ATIM program trained 230 individuals between August of 2013 and March of 2015.


    Health Professions and Opportunity Program

    The Workforce Boards of Metropolitan Chicago received a five-year Health Professions and Opportunity Program (HPOG) grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to train low-income individuals in healthcare occupations. The initiative was a unique partnership among the region’s Local Workforce Boards, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), three of the community colleges in the region (McHenry County College, College of Lake County, and Joliet Junior College) and three community-based workforce organizations (Central States SER, Instituto del Progreso Latino and Jewish Vocational Service). Through bridge educational programs and occupational training for certified Nursing Assistants, Nursing, Medical Assistants, Pharmacy Technicians and Dental Assistances, the initiative provided access to healthcare careers for TANF participants and other low-income individuals.


    Information Technology for the long-term unemployed

    The Job Driven NEG Grant provided $2.7M for a regional project that provides services, occupational and work-based training, certification(s) and job placement in the information technology sector, focusing on long-term unemployed job seekers, Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients who have been profiled as likely to exhaust benefits, and foreign-trained immigrant workers who qualify as dislocated workers and face barriers to obtaining employment in their trained field or profession. Partners include Local Workforce Boards of Lake, DuPage and Will counties, and residents were recruited from DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties. A subcontractor, TEC Services, was selected to deliver the program on behalf of the region. Outreach and recruitment materials were developed for use by all of the areas involved in the project in addition to community-based agencies, employers, industry associations, chambers of commerce, and other partners. Each area collaborated on outreach and recruitment, prescreening of applicants and referring them to the contractor if they are eligible. Customers participated in classroom training and gained skills and certifications/credentials. After classroom training, some customers were directly placed in employment. Others were placed in work-based training opportunities prior to employment. Mentoring, job coaching and counseling were provided to assist with participant retention. This comprehensive model ensured that customers who participated in this project had the supports they needed to be successful in training and employment. Occupations include: Computer Support Specialists, Computer Programmers, Info Security, Project Management and Web Developers. Training and certifications include: PMP, A+, Security+, Project+, Mobility+, Microsoft Technology Associate, Microsoft Office Specialist and Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. Two hundred and sixty (260) participants were trained through this project.