About Cyndi Solitro

Cyndi Solitro is Director for Reimagine Retail Chicagoland.

Apprenticeship 2020

Apprenticeship 2020 is a new $3.2M fund to accelerate efforts to scale high-quality work-based learning programs in Chicago. Local and national foundations including JPMorgan Chase, Salesforce.org, The Joyce Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, Pritzker Traubert Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and others, have launched this collaborative effort, in partnership with employers and other stakeholders to test new [...]


What does collaboration mean to you? Merriam-Webster’s definition of collaboration is “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor”. In this instance, the endeavor is Reimagine Retail – a workforce initiative focusing on turnover reduction and currently consisting of 10 Chicago organizations helping to improve the quality of jobs for entry-level retail [...]

Transportation Distribution Logistics

This is the newest sector the Funder Alliance is working to organize. The current approach is to capitalize on the work that the Will County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and the Chicago Jobs Council did to form the workforce development portion of an economic development plan for the region focused on freight. All the effort [...]

The Genesis Movement

The Genesis Movement developed from a collaboration between the Funder Alliance and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) that began in 2013 and continues today. The Funder Alliance first awarded IMEC a planning grant to help develop an Industry Workforce Partnership for manufacturing. But what developed in 2014 was a different kind of initiative. IMEC [...]

Racial Equity Accountability and Data

The Funder Alliance believes that improving racial equity in the region's labor market is a fundamental responsibility that the workforce development system must pursue with intentionality and continuous improvement. It further believes that investing in the capacity of the workforce development system can help the system meet that responsibility, and that private funders themselves can [...]

Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership

When the Funder Alliance started in 2012 it inherited an industry workforce partnership focused on manufacturing in Chicago’s Calumet region called the Calumet Green Manufacturing Partnership or CGMP. Initially it was a collaboration of community colleges, CBOs and local governments focused on improving career pathways for local residents into good jobs in manufacturing. The Funder [...]

Pro Path Fund

In 2015, the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance came together with a number of education funders to advance a shared interest in promoting the development of a Chicagoland education and workforce system with a seamless transition from secondary to post-secondary programs. The Pro Path fund was created to provide a seamless transition by expanding the [...]

Obama Building Equity Fund

https://youtu.be/-HYtXSFsgY8   In the spring of 2017, the Obama family made a $1 million gift to the Funder Alliance with instructions to use the funding to support a “generational shift” in Chicago’s building trades workforce. The Obama family knew that underrepresentation of communities of color and women in building trades careers is a persistent problem, [...]

Financial Services Pipeline

The Financial Services Pipeline (FSP) initiative is a partnership that financial services firms created in 2014 to increase the representation of African Americans and Latinos in their sector. The Chicago Community Trust and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago were also integral to its formation. The FSP brings together about 18 financial services companies, [...]

Reimagine Retail

Reimagine Retail Chicagoland is a collaborative workforce development initiative funded by Aspen Institute with support from the Walmart Foundation. The initiative’s three main strategies include helping improve the quality of jobs for workers in entry-level positions, create pathways for advancement in retail and related sectors, and increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention. ReimagineRetail Brochure [...]

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