One local program is looking to close that gap. Chicago Career Tech works to get people the training necessary to get those available jobs.
About the Program:
Created in January 2010, Chicago Career Tech (CCT) is an innovative job-retraining initiative that strives to close the workforce skills gap by working with local businesses to identify the competencies they need to fill current and future open positions. Leveraging public-private partnerships, CCT creates training programs tailored to those needs to help unemployed emerging- and middle-class Chicago residents acquire the skills they need obtain and succeed in these high demand technology-based careers.
The rigorous four- to six-month, six-day-a-week program is centered around classroom training and hands-on learning in technology specializations currently in demand by Chicago businesses, including Oracle Database/SQL, CISCO Networking; health information technology; Microsoft certifications; project management; social media, technical sales, and web design and development.
In addition to its established training programs, CCT has created a host-to-hire corporate training program with Accretive Health, a growing Chicago company that handles revenue cycle services for healthcare providers. This program allows participants the opportunity to focus their training on one of three areas of specialization: medical reimbursement, coding, or client services. Upon successful completion of the program, participants are considered for full-time employment at Accretive. To date, Accretive has hired nearly 30 CCT graduates and will increase its corporate training class from 50 to 80 participants for the next session.
Over the course of the program, participants may be eligible to receive a weekly stipend and continue to receive the unemployment insurance (UI) benefits from the State of Illinois to which they are entitled. Upon completion of the program, graduates have the skills necessary to transition to technology-based careers that are available now, and to market themselves in a competitive job market.
Chicago Career Tech is a 501(c)3 that is funded by city, state and federal grants, foundation support and private sector donations.
Although the City has approximately 124,000 unemployed residents, the more than 131,000 job postings in Chicago from April to July 2011-especially in technology and healthcare-often go unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers. CCT works to close that gap by:
Helping Chicago residents get the training necessary to obtain the available jobs in the City.
Enabling employers to hire trained Chicagoans for positions that may be open, but are not getting filled.
Helping companies grow jobs right here in Chicago.
Chicago Career Tech Participant Profile
Total Participants Served to Date: About 700
Gender: 60 percent Female; 40 percent Male
Age Range: 23 - 69, average age of 47
Median Salary pre-unemployment: $41,600
Unemployment: Participants include those who have bee unemployed for an extended period of time (dating as far back as January 1, 2008); 44 percent of participants have exhausted their UI
Location: Program includes participants from every ward in Chicago
The registration period runs from July 18-September 2..
What are the qualifications?
Chicago Career Tech applicants must meet and provide appropriate documentation for all of the following core minimum qualifications.
Legal right to work in the United States
Resident of the City of Chicago
Minimum of a high school degree, GED certificate or higher level of education Unemployed (no earlier than January 1, 2008) with previous annual income of $25,000 to $80,000 (NEW!)
Eligible to collect or have exhausted unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in the State of Illinois
Program Graduate: Angela (Angie) Ware, Roseland resident
Angie was a Group 2 participant, she gained hands-on experience at Chicago Commons, where she is now employed full-time as a fiscal/contracts accountant At the Orientation Kick-Off event in May for Group 3, Angie was presented the inaugural outstanding graduate awards, based on nominations submitted from graduates, supervisors and training providers. One of 450 participants the organization has served since May 2010, Ware was nominated for her enthusiasm, determination and positive attitude
In her own words:
"I initially learned about CCT through the Illinois Department of Employment Services agency. Although I looked at many of the employers websites for a job, I had not considered any training programs. In my opinion, most professionals don't. It wasn't until I was told about the program by a former banking colleague who was also a CCT group I participant that I researched and applied. My advice is to leave no stone unturned, look at all opportunities."
"CCT gave me the opportunity to meet people that I never would have had the opportunity to meet, and to explore a different side of me! More importantly, I was able to unleash talent that I didn't realize I had."
"Having gone through the program and getting to know many of my colleagues "story"; I know that for many participants, this may be one of the most vulnerable points in their life. Having been there myself (20+ years of Banking experience), without a clue of what would lie ahead for me professionally....embracing the uncertainty allowed me to reach inside so that I could redefine myself. I was able to tweak my strengths and weaknesses within the 6 month time line, especially with the Educational/Learning component of the CCT program. I believe that the incoming CCT Participants should look forward to maximizing every experience so that it become the groundwork for a positive change in their lives."