Vince Emanuele was among those who marched for jobs. The laid-off Iraq war veteran has had a hard time since returning home.
"It's really tough. They train you for years to become a killer, but they do not train you to become a civilian again," Emanuele said.
The coalition of organizations that rallied Saturday called on Congress to pass President Barack Obama's American Jobs Act. The act would give employers tax credits for hiring the long-term unemployed and veterans among other incentives.
"We must build a renewed commitment to a coalition to fight for jobs and justice now," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
"The people in this country cannot get a job, cannot get work, cannot feed their families -- this is wrong," said Robert Kelly, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308.
But concern remains that a divided Congress may struggle with the plan's $447 billion price tag.
"We need to tax Wall Street. We need to tax CEOs. We need to tax corporations. We need to make the people who caused this crisis responsible for fixing it," said Susan Hurley, Chicago Jobs with Justice.
Organizers add that Saturday's emergency jobs rally wasn't just about a creating jobs, but stopping what they call "a continued attack on the public sector employment."