Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership offers free job training, placement

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A local non-profit organization is aiming to get the unemployed "job ready" and back on the payrolls. The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership is offering job training and placement for free to those who are looking to move into a new career.

Manufacturing is listed among the top 10 most in-demand job fields in Illinois. These students are picking up the trade for free. It's one of several job training programs offered to unemployed workers in Cook County through the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. The group trains and screens job candidates and reduces much of the risk employers face when hiring.

"We connect with employers across all industries to identify what their workforce needs are," said Phaedra Leslie, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. There may be a gap in the individual's skill and the employer is willing to train on that skill and we will subsidize that wage during the training period up to six months.

Hospitality training is also key. These students range from entry level to experienced but they all share the same situation. They are unemployed and hoping that more training will lead to financial stability.

"I got my first three licenses and it only took like three to four months to get those for three different type of licenses, for Chicago. One is for the state of Illinois, and the other one is national. So I can go anywhere across the United States and work," said Cecile Smith, who is entering the hospitality field.

"They're offering other things like training in customer service, management and things that have to do with hotels so I'm hoping this will get me to the next level so I can provide for my family. I need a career not just a job," said Keith Fobs, an experienced line cook.

Next week, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership is hosting a hiring event, specifically for those who are unemployed and living in the Chatham, Avalon Park and Greater Grand Crossing neighborhoods. It's part of an anti-violence outreach effort called "Hope and Healing" spearheaded by Congressman Bobby Rush.

You can find all the details about the job fair as well as how to connect with the group if you don't live in those neighborhoods at:
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