Our America: Women Forward | List of resources

ByABC7 Chicago WLS logo
Monday, March 8, 2021

Here are the local and national organizations that are working to support women in our community:


Women Employed

WE relentlessly pursue equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces to make the world a better place for us all.


Do you know your rights to paid and unpaid leave if you or a loved one gets sick with COVID-19? The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the structure of work for millions of people across the United States. In this time of crisis, it is particularly important for people to know their employment rights and the protections that exist in case you or a loved one gets sick with COVID-19. Download Women Employed's toolkit-in English, Spanish, and Polish-to learn more about the protections that exist nationally, in Illinois, and in Chicago and Cook County. Then use the digital outreach toolkit to share this important info with your friends, family, and colleagues!

Workplace Fairness

Women are half the U.S. labor force, and we are breadwinners or co-breadwinners for two-thirds of families. But we earn less than men for the same work. We're twice as likely to work in jobs with poverty-level wages. Women have better credentials than ever before, yet are more likely to work low wage jobs. We still face sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. Too few of us can take paid time off to care for ourselves and our families. And discrimination based on our race, immigration status, sexual orientation, faith, or disability can intersect with gender discrimination to create additional roadblocks to opportunity. The intersectional impact of race and gender biases contributes to the overall gender pay gap, as women of color experience pay outcomes that are worse than would be predicted by the additive effect of race and gender.

Equal Pay

Fair Scheduling

Minimum Wage

Paid Sick Time and Paid Leave

Sexual Harassment

Pregnancy Fairness

Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership

(312) 603-0200

Created in 2012, The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) is an umbrella organization operating the public workforce system in the City of Chicago and Cook County.

Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) funds a variety of workforce agencies serving as a comprehensive employment and training resource for employers, jobseekers of all ages, TANF recipients, veterans, and youth throughout the Chicagoland region. Through The Partnership's network of more than 50 workforce agencies, we are connecting jobseekers with skills needed to secure sustainable employment, and we are connecting employers with a trained and ready workforce. All services are free!


Throughout the pandemic, The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership's network has continued to serve job seekers, providing services virtually through the agencies and initiatives it funds. The organization created a Who's Hiring Now page in 2020, through which job seekers can find, and apply for, existing job opportunities.

Job seekers can reach The Partnership's network of 90+ community-based organizations online or over the phone by dialing 1-800-720-2515 to connect with one of ten American Job Centers in Chicago and suburban Cook County to access training and job placement services. The Partnership is agile and committed to addressing needs as they emerge. For instance, data shows that clerks (including hotel and lodging desk clerks) and food service workers are in the top three occupations employing Cook County women. When these sectors were hard hit by the pandemic, The Partnership created the Chi Serves program to connect people laid off from those jobs with targeted training and re-employment services. The Partnership operates a Rapid Response program that assists laid-off workers and their employers and ensures those affected know their rights, responsibilities, and available resources.

The Partnership then coordinates job placement and training services for affected employees.

The Partnership is committed to offering services in the communities where they are most needed. The organization recently opened the Chatham Education and Workforce Center to bring much-needed community meeting space and training and workforce development services to Chicago's South Side.

Veteran Services: Cook County is committed to connecting veterans to employers, and employers to veterans. We are working to guarantee that we prepare veterans or their spouses to enter the workforce and access quality jobs that allow them to leverage their skills, training and experiences. Visit one of our centers to get connected to these services. Click here to find the center nearest you.

Center for Changing Lives

(773) 342-6210

We partner with those held back by lack of resource and economic opportunity to uncover possibilities, overcome barriers, and realize their potential.

We are a community built on the foundational belief that everyone is naturally creative, resourceful and whole.

Financial coaching

Financial and housing coaches partner with members to uncover possibilities, overcome barriers, and achieve their financial goals. With a coach, members are able to:

-Save for emergencies, bills, and goals

-Track and manage income and benefits

-Pay bills and other expenses

-Uncover strategies for cutting expenses

-Formulate a plan to manage debt or repay student loans

-Understand credit reports and scores

-Apply for housing

-Find and choose financial products and services

-Access unique credit building products

-Manage a bank account

-Apply for income supports, i.e. SNAP, TANF, Medicaid

-Learn more about opening up a Child or College Savings Account

-Learn about consumer protection

-Utilize tax credits and deductions

-Build, grow, and protect assets

-Increase income

Employment coaching

Employment coaches partner with members to uncover possibilities, overcome barriers, and achieve their employment goals. With a coach, members are able to access and receive:

-Leadership & Networking development

-Build/review resumes & cover letters

-Interview Preparation

-Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

-Internship experience

-Workers' Rights/Social Justice Training

-Digital Literacy Skills

-Increased Job Opportunities

-Career Planning and Preparation

-Career Advancement and Sustainability

-Job Leads and Resources

-Assess Career and Education Goals and more!

Employment coaching

Employment coaches partner with members to uncover possibilities, overcome barriers, and achieve their employment goals. With a coach, members are able to access and receive:

-Leadership & Networking development

-Build/review resumes & cover letters

-Interview Preparation

-Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

-Internship experience

-Workers' Rights/Social Justice Training

-Digital Literacy Skills

-Increased Job Opportunities

-Career Planning and Preparation

-Career Advancement and Sustainability

-Job Leads and Resources

-Assess Career and Education Goals and more!

Resource Development Coaching

Resource Development Coaching connects participants to a network of people, resources, and opportunities relevant to each member, and mobilizes non-financial resources like social and relational capital to improve participants' circumstances and move them towards their vision for their life. It includes access to:

-Discovery and joint exploration of participants' strengths and competencies

-Assessment of current resources

-Facilitating the development of participants' visions, outcomes, action plans, and accountability structures

-Rental Assistance/ Emergency Fund

-$5 Divvy for Everyone bike membership

-Public Benefits assistance


Founded in 1876, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is a social enterprise committed to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. As a leading association among a national network of more than 200 YWCAs, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago impacts tens of thousands of women and families annually through comprehensive human services provided across the region. YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is a leading service provider in the areas of sexual violence support services, early childhood and child care provider services, family support services, youth STEM programming, and economic empowerment services. Chicago has the third-highest percentage of women in the U.S., and our YWCA serves as a national incubator for innovative programming, outreach and engagement strategies. The organization is also an active member of many national, state, county and city-level coalitions, representing the interests of and advocating for policies that positively affect women and families.

Regardless of race or economic status, the YWCA provides individuals and families with the support and tools they need to heal from trauma, obtain skills and credentials, access resources and opportunities, and build stronger communities. The YWCA is dedicated to promoting racial justice and personal empowerment across all of our programs and services. The YWCA offers services in the following areas:

-Job Training and Placement, Financial Education, Housing Support Services

-Counseling (General and Sexual Violence Support Services): Call (312) 733-2102 or (630) 790-6600 x1470 for general counseling; call (312) 733-2102, (630) 790-6600, or (708) 754-0486 for sexual violence counseling; for more information on virtual support groups being offered, please call (312) 733-2102

-Fresh Meals Daily

-Home Visiting (Project HELP ,Young Parents Program, etc.): Staff are reaching out to clients directly to schedule virtual visits; FamilyWorks has now created a private Facebook Group for families to access current local resources

-Rape Crisis Hotlines (will operate 24/7 as normal): Call 888-293-2080 in Chicago Metropolitan Area, 630-971-3927 in DuPage County, or 708-748-5672 in the South Suburbs

-Small Business Development Center: Call 312-762-2739 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM or emailsbdc@ywcachicago.orgto schedule virtual advisory services; virtual workshops being scheduled for Side Hustle Saturdays; those interested in child care business support specifically should emailprincess.gentry@ywcachicago.org

-Emergency Child Care: Essential workers in need ofchild care, should emailemergencychildcare@ywcachicago.orgor call 800-781-7247; click here to download the application

-Training/Workshops (TechGYRLS, Digital Literacy, Childcare Provider Training): All professional trainings are now virtual; FamilyWorks; TechGYRLS workshops have paused for the time being, but a private Facebook Group for Youth STEAM Programming is now available


Founded in 1973, "Mujeres Latinas en Acción empowers Latinas by providing services which reflect their values and culture and by being an advocate on the issues that make a difference in their lives." With this mission and the needs of the community always at the forefront, Mujeres provides high-quality, client-centered, bilingual/bicultural human services addressing critical issues such as domestic violence and sexual assault, leadership and youth development, positive parent support, and economic self-sufficiency. Mujeres also acts as a leading advocate on critical issues to ensure that the voices of those in the communities served are recognized among local and national lawmakers.

Due to the pandemic, all our services are currently offered virtually. Go to our website or call 773-890-7676 for more information.

Domestic Violence

For the healing and prevention of domestic violence, we offer crisis intervention, a 24 hour crisis line,individual and group counseling, adult and child therapy, court advocacy, community education, professional and volunteer trainings, and referrals to shelters and other resources. 24- Hour Hotline (312) 738-5358.

Sexual Violence

For the healing and prevention of sexual violence, we offer crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, adult and child therapy, legal and medical advocacy, community education, professional and volunteer trainings, and referrals to other resources. 24-HourChicago RapeCrisis Line:888-293-2080

Empresarias del Futuro (EDF)

Empresarias del Futuro (Entrepreneurs of the Future) is an all-Spanish educational program dedicated to providing leadership development, financial literacy and entrepreneurship tools to women interested in beginning or expanding their microenterprise. EDF has a long-term goal of supporting participants on the road to obtaining financial independence. EDF is divided into two levels, which offer group and individual coaching sessions.

Community Engagement & Mobilization Program

Mobilizes community members to become civically engaged around issues of economic justice, immigrant justice, gender-based violence, and women's health.

Parent Support

We offer parenting education sessions in Spanish to improve interpersonal relationships in families. We also offer individual and group counseling for parents and operate the only free

Supervised Visitation & Safe Exchange services for low-income families in Chicagoland.

Latina Leadership

We offer the only leadership program that is designed for Spanish-speaking immigrant survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Participants develop leadership skills and self-confidence, and identify community issues and advocate for change.


(312) 252-0460

Our Values are:

Stable Employment & Strong Communities - CJC recognizes stable employment with good pay, benefits, and opportunities for career advancement is the foundation of strong communities.

Equity - CJC's work aims to create a more equitable society as we strive to dissolve structural inequalities contributing to racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in employment. View our racial equity statement here.

Evidence & On-the-Ground Experience - CJC uses evidence, research, and on-the-ground experience to advance employment policies and programs that challenge current practice and offer bold solutions to achieve greater impact.

Inclusion & Collaboration - CJC values inclusive relationships - working in teams, partnerships, coalitions - because collaboration that engages diverse experiences and considers others is key to our success.


Finding Child Care

Finding the right child care for your family doesn't have to be challenging. Our Parent Consultants are here to help.

We take the guesswork out of choosing quality child care. Our experienced Parent Consultants are available to provide a free, customized list of child care referrals. In a simple step-by-step process, a Parent Consultant will assess your needs, customize a list of potential programs, and provide the information you need to make an informed decision.

The process of finding quality child care is simple.

1.Contact us: Call 312.823.1100 and press option 3, or email referrals@actforchildren.org

2. Discuss your needs: Do you need care daily or a few days a week? For how many children and how many hours? What setting works best for your family? What is your preferred area/location? Talk to your Parent Consultant about your needs and preferences. They will help you find an arrangement that works for your family. All information is confidential.

3. Review your options: Your Parent Consultant will send you materials, including a personalized list of referrals to programs, child development fact sheets and guidelines to help you choose the best child care option for your family.

4. Visit: Parent Consultants provide a list of referrals, not recommendations. We recommend that you visit several child care programs before you make a final decision, to make sure that you are comfortable with the child care setting and caregiver(s).

Understanding Your Options

What's right for you depends on what your family needs. There are three types of child care settings to consider. Each has its own benefits and limitations. Learn more about your child care options here, or download our First Steps brochure | Primeros pasos: opciones de cuidado infantil (Spanish).

What to Ask

Not sure what questions to ask when choosing a provider? Our Child Care Tips and Checklists identify characteristics of quality child care that you should look for.

Caring for Children During COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, Illinois Action for Children's offices are currently closed. Visit our COVID-19 site for more information.

If you would like for a Parent Consultant to contact you directly to assist with your child care search, fill out the Child Care Referral Request Form.

CCAP Contact Information

Phone: 312.823.1100

Fax: 312.823.1200

The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) contact center phone lines are open Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. You can also schedule a CCAP appointment here.

Paying for Child Care

The Illinois Child Care Assistance Program makes it possible for families who qualify to receive financial assistance in paying for child care. Parents must meet the State of Illinois' income and family size guidelines.

Steps to Complete

1. Determine if You Qualify: The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps parents that are in school or working pay for child care. Eligibility is based on gross income and family size. Use the Eligibility Calculator to see if you qualify.

2. Find a Child Care Provider: Search online anytime for child care programs in and around Cook County or contact us by calling 312.823.1100.

3. Complete the CCAP Application: Download the Child Care Application form. Make sure to read all instructions and provide all necessary documentation.

Professional Development Training

Illinois Action for Children collaborates with its network of community partners to offer professional development opportunities to early care and school-age professionals throughout Cook County. This includes:

-Home- and center-based programs

-Licensed and license-exempt providers

-Providers serving CCAP and non-CCAP children



Girls Who Code

American Association of University Women

Girls For Gender Equity

Teach A Girl To Lead

Spark Movement

Domestic violence

The National Domestic Violence Hotline


National Coalition Against Domestic Violence


1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women


Women of color

National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities

Women of Color Network

Casa de Esperanza

National Indigenous Women's Resource Center



The Trevor Project

"Our America: Women Forward" is special series celebrating women across this country through stories of their perseverance, resilience, triumph, hope, achievement, strength and power. We will break down the disparities that challenge progress and the systemic sexism at the root of it all. You'll meet mothers, daughters, sisters and friends; innovators, teachers, gamechangers, power players, explorers, athletes and everyday heroes. The stories will begin to air on Eyewitness News at 4pm on March 8 and will culminate in a one-hour documentary that will air Saturday, March 13.

Stream this documentary on your TV

Download the ABC7 Chicago app on Roku, AppleTV, Amazon FireTV or AndroidTV. Just search for "ABC7 Chicago" and download our free app.