Over the past few years, the Chicago Jobs Council (CJC) has received a number of invitations to either participate in the design of or to support an existing publicly-funded jobs program for Chicago residents. The number and frequency of these requests prompted CJC staff in November 1999 to begin to investigate this growing national trend and engage the organization's members in a discussion about the merits and shortcomings of publicly-funded jobs programs. Following our first discussion, twenty-four members of CJC's Welfare-to-Work and Workforce Development working groups volunteered to participate in a joint ad hoc committee, which met between November 1999 and April 2000, to develop the standards for a CJC position. This paper consolidates both the preliminary research conducted by staff and the extensive input from CJC working group members into a CJC position on publicly-funded jobs programs. The position paper has three goals: - to provide a brief background on publicly-funded jobs programs; - to establish CJC's position in support of publicly-funded jobs programs, including reasons for our support; and, - to outline a set of standards to guide CJC's board, staff, members, and other stakeholders when they are invited to participate in designing a program or in deciding whether and to what extent they will support proposed models. Ultimately, CJC sees the potential in publicly-funded jobs programs to prepare populations with multiple-barriers to employment for work in ways that enhance their job retention and advancement, help them earn wages to support themselves and their families, and help them move into the economic mainstream of our society.
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