West Side residents seeking jobs, employers seeking workers and would-be workers who need skills may just find what they’re looking for in a new 5-week initiative recently launched by several city and county entities. 

The initiative, called Hire Chicago, is a collaboration between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office, World Business Chicago and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.  

The 5-week initiative includes free virtual workshops, pre-screening discussions and support, and job interviews with employers in some of five high-demand industries: manufacturing; transportation, distribution and logistics; healthcare; information technology (IT); and food service, hospitality and tourism.

Each industry will be featured in one week of the initiative based on the following schedule: 

  • Week 1 | August 2: Manufacturing
  • Week 2 | August 9: Hospitality, Tourism, and Food Service
  • Week 3 | August 16: Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
  • Week 4 | August 23: Healthcare
  • Week 5 | August 30: Technology

The initiative kicked off on Aug. 2 and runs through Sept. 2. Job-seekers and employers can register for various activities, which are taking place virtually, at hirechicago2021.org. 

“We have a responsibility to help people get back to work,” said Karin M. Norington-Reaves, the founding CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. “Unemployment insurance will be running out soon and so we’re making sure that people put their best foot forward and get in front of employers.” 

Norington-Reaves said that, so far, over 160 employers have registered to interview prospective job-seekers and over 9,000 jobs have been posted on the site. 

Residents who are interested in jobs can participate in workshops and pre-screening activities on Monday through Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Interviews are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to the Hire Chicago website. 

Norington-Reaves said that residents who need access to computers to participate in the initiative’s activities can visit one of the Partnership’s job centers, such as the Westside American Job Center at 605 S. Albany Ave. 

Norington-Reaves explained that Hire Chicago was among the actions recommended in a report drafted by Mayor Lightfoot’s Economic Recovery Task Force, which launched in April 2020. 

“Employers are saying they can’t find people and have all these openings, so we want to provide a means to connect these two populations and that’s what we do at the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership everyday,” she said. 

In a video statement announcing the launch of Hire Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot said the initiative comes amid a changing economic landscape. 

“The pandemic has changed us individually as people and, collectively, as a workforce. What worked in January 2020 no longer works today, as our priorities have shifted and our lifestyles have changed,” said Mayor Lightfoot. 

“As we continue to work towards an equitable and inclusive economic recovery in Chicago, we are making sure that companies relocating and expanding here have access to our incredibly talented and diverse workforce, and that, in return, they provide good-paying, sustainable jobs and careers,” she said. 

For more information or to register to participate in Hire Chicago, visit: https://hirechicago2021.org/.