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 be part of such intentionality and improvement. The Funder Alliance has made grants to put these beliefs into practice, and while they do not yet take on the whole of a very complex “workforce development system”, they do engage a significant portion of it through collaboration with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) and the Chicago Jobs Council (CJC). These twin grants initiate a set of mutually supporting activities.
The CJC grant is enabling that organization to take a racial equity lens to all of their work, and also to experiment with new endeavors coming from that lens. Specifically, CJC has developed a new model of service, a shared career readiness master practitioner, who can not only standardize and train CBOs through Frontline Focus, but who can also be deployed across CJC members to help smooth the ebbs and flows of their career readiness service needs.
The Partnership grant focuses on Career Connect, their new data system, enabling them to improve the roll out and adoption of the system by both current delegates, and non-delegates. The roots of this grant are in the Benchmarking Project, which in part advances the premise that better use of data in service delivery can be a success driver for high impact workforce development programs.
The two grants have their own sets of separate deliverables, but they also complement one another; for example, the Partnership grant will work on ensuring Career Connect has the reporting capacity it needs to help programs be data-driven, which can be coordinated with CJC’s training curriculum about best practice use of data by programs. Making these grants in tandem also allows for a quarterly convening of our three organizations where we look at disaggregated data together and discuss the insights data can reveal about the workforce system and racial equity.


About the Author:

Cyndi Solitro is Director for Reimagine Retail Chicagoland.