DFSS provides workforce services to City residents and employers through a coordinated network of service provider agencies called WorkNet Chicago. Below is a menu of the WorkNet Chicago programs.
WIA Workforce Centers and Community Affiliate Centers
The federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) supports the Chicago Workforce Centers, which are located throughout the city. The centers offer quality services and assistance to Chicago job seekers and employers. Core services for job seekers are open to anyone 18 or older and include free internet access to job listings and online workforce development resources including Illinois workNet; workshops to develop job searching and resume writing skills as well as free access to faxing, copying, telephone and the Internet. Intensive services are available for WIA-eligible job seekers and include skill assessments, career development planning and job placement counseling and support services. Training Services are available to WIA-eligible participants through Individual Training Accounts.
WIA Workforce Centers for Businesses
The Workforce Centers for Businesses focus on assisting employers with their workforce development and staffing needs. The centers target employers representing industries including manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, retail and a range of customer service operations. Center staff will assess the employer’s workforce needs, including the identification of skill gaps or critical skills shortages in their current workforce. New employees will be developed through on-the-job (OJT), vocational training and customized training. Incumbent worker training can be used to upgrade the skills of current employees. Employers are informed of tax incentive programs suitable for their business.
WIA Bridge Training Programs
Bridge Training Programs are programs that prepare persons with limited academic and/or English skills to enter and succeed in credit bearing post secondary education and training leading to career-path employment.
Innovative Programs for Underserved Populations
Innovative programs provide employment-related services tailored to the needs of underserved populations such as immigrants, veterans, persons with disabilities, the homeless, non-custodial parents, persons with chemical dependencies and persons with criminal backgrounds.
Customized Training and Placement Services
Customized training provides participants with comprehensive training linked to full-time employment in specific fields. The focus is on high-demand occupations in manufacturing, service industries and healthcare.
Transitional Jobs Programs (TJP)
Transitional Jobs provide temporary, publicly-subsidized employment that combines work, skill development, job readiness training and supportive services to help participants overcome substantial barriers to employment. Upon completion of the subsidized employment, the program will assist the individual in finding unsubsidized employment.
Contextualized Literacy for the Workplace Programs
Contextualized Literacy is designed to raise the literacy levels of participants within a particular occupational context. Adult learners with low academic skill levels advance more rapidly when their learning is contextualized to a particular career or industry. The program provides training in math, language, reading, writing, and basic computer usage to equip job seekers and low wage workers for the modern workplace.
Re-Entry Support Program
The community re-entry support program is setup to reduce recidivism among the formerly incarcerated by providing a "navigator" that will refer the ex-offender to agencies that deliver case management, skill assessments, individual goal development, job-training, housing, substance abuse counseling and other support services.
Transitional Jobs Program (TJP) for Ex-Offenders
The Transitional Jobs Program for ex-offenders provides temporary publicly subsidized employment that combines work, skill development and supportive services to help participants overcome substantial barriers to employment. The program provides services that rapidly place recently released persons with felony convictions into paid work experience assignments. Through a regimen of immediate paid work experience coupled with case management, job readiness and basic skills training, individuals can gain valuable skills and experience needed to obtain steady unsubsidized employment. Upon completion of the subsidized employment, the program will assist the ex-offender in finding unsubsidized employment.
Customized Work Services Program for Ex-Offenders
In partnership with the Department of Streets and Sanitation, the Customized Work Services Program combines elements of a transitional jobs program will with various City of Chicago work services projects. Transitional jobs help persons with criminal records break negative life patterns and engage in positive steps to re-entering the community as responsible, productive citizens. By rapidly attaching ex-offenders to real work activities, the chances of recidivism are significantly reduced.
Customized Job Training Program for Ex-Offenders
The customized job training program provides opportunities for ex-offenders to develop skills through specific training that meets employer demand.
WIA Youth In-School Programs
The federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) supports youth workforce services which provide an individualized combination of education, skill enhancement, career exploration, job-readiness skills, apprenticeships and internships, and occupational training that lead to employment or post-secondary education. The programs are designed for at-risk youth, 16 – 21 years of age, whose highest grade level completed is less than or equal to the 12th grade, and who have not received a secondary diploma or its recognized equivalent and who are enrolled/attending school (In some cases youth attending college may also qualify as "in-school").
WIA Youth Out-of-School Programs
The federal Workforce Investment act (WIA) supports youth workforce services which provide an individualized combination of education, skill enhancement, career exploration, job-readiness skills, apprenticeships and internships, and occupational training that lead to employment or post-secondary education. The programs are designed for youth, 16 – 21 years of age, who are school dropouts, (no longer attending any school - grade school or high school) and who have not received a secondary diploma or its recognized equivalent, or have received a secondary school diploma or its equivalent but are basic skills deficient, unemployed or under employed or have barriers to employment.
Youth Ready Chicago Regional Youth Career Development Centers
This program offers year-round youth workforce development services focused on career awareness, exploration, preparation and job placement to Chicago youth ages 14-21. Each YRC Career Development Center will also work to place more than 120 youth annually in private-sector and community-based employment opportunities.
Youth Ready Chicago Summer Jobs Program
DFSS partners with other city agencies in the Youth Ready Chicago Summer Jobs Program. YRC provides youth, ages 14 – 21, with summer employment. Other partners include the Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Park District, After School Matters, the Chicago Housing Authority, private businesses and community-based organizations. The online application is generally available from February to May 30th. Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria: 1) be between 14 and 24 at the time of the application, 2) live in the City of Chicago, 3) have a social security number or a number that is legally allowed to replace a social security number for the purposes of employment and 4) provide a guardian’s signature for applicants under the age of 18.
To submit an application please visit www.youthreadychicago.org.