"We have to get people back to work, now and into the future. Too many people are still hurting because of the nation's recession," he said.
Delivering his annual “City of Chicago” address at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Daley said his vision for creating new jobs and making Chicago a better place for every Chicagoan touches every aspect of government -- from new business recruitment to strengthening education and job training to ongoing neighborhood and infrastructure improvements to supporting those who need it most.
“A better future for all the people of Chicago won't happen by chance. We must act proactively – and we are -- to transform Chicago's economy and create new jobs and new businesses throughout Chicago,” Daley said. "Our plan won't work unless it works for everyone and unless it strengthens every part of our city and it does. We want Chicago to be a city of opportunity.”
The Mayor said the fundamentals of Chicago’s economy -- an educated workforce, an excellent transportation system and strong neighborhoods -- were put in place long before the national recession began and have helped the City weather the tough economic times.
“They are our core strengths and we've worked hard to maintain and build on them during these tough times,” he said. “Moving forward we will build on our existing strengths in manufacturing and small businesses and continue to target emerging business sectors we believed would increasingly become the foundation of Chicago’s 21st century economy.”
Those sectors include: technology, clean energy, health care, financial services, hospitality, biosciences, innovation and transportation.
To encourage the businesses of the future to locate in and create jobs throughout Chicago, Daley announced that:
- The City is creating a major new public-private partnership to be funded by the private sector with the goal of bringing more 21st century jobs to Chicago by bringing the growth businesses of tomorrow to the city.
This partnership, called "The Chicago Growth Accelerator,” will target key businesses in such areas as technology, biosciences, alternative energy and manufacturing for recruitment and invest funds to support their ongoing job growth. The fund will also be used to help expand and retain the businesses of the future that are already present in the city.
To encourage the growth of small businesses across Chicago, he said the City will:
- Create a new City-based loan fund to complement the loan fund operated through the City Treasurer's office aimed at helping small businesses stay afloat and expand.
Daley said that because Chicagoans had the foresight to invest in new neighborhood schools, police and fire stations, parks, green spaces, housing, libraries and senior centers and infrastructure, the City’s neighborhoods are stronger today.
“But, I'll never coast on our past accomplishments because I know there is always more to be done to improve the lives of every Chicagoan,” he said.
The Mayor also addressed these major issues facing the City:
Daley said violence on Chicago's streets is the "most immediate and pressing problem we face as a city.”
The Mayor said he has challenged Police Superintendent Jody Weis to review his strategies to make sure the City is doing all it can to fight violence. In the last year the Police department has transferred 268 officers from behind desks to street patrol and next year's City budget will fund the hiring of 100 new police officers for street patrol.
Over the short term, Superintendent Weis will accelerate the use of $9 million in economic stimulus funds to pay for overtime to put more police on street duty on weekends.
Daley also said the will undertake more collaborative activities with federal, state and local law enforcement officials, redouble efforts to fight gun trafficking and convene a series of meeting with local law enforcement officials to help better understand how the justice system can reduce the number of criminals on the streets.
MANAGING GOVERNMENT EFFICIENTLY
He renewed his commitment to manage the city's resources well and put a priority on investments that support people and create new opportunity. He pointed out that the City has cut spending by over $2.6 billion and implemented management improvements to do more with less. He reminded the audience that he will not raise property taxes in 2011.
Daley said that "training our residents in marketable skills for modern jobs is one of the most important ways we can support the people of Chicago in the years ahead.
“Toward that goal, we are transforming education at every level -- from our public schools to our workforce training programs to the City Colleges of Chicago -- so that we are better coordinating all our job training and education efforts,” he said.
He said that central to the plan is the opening this fall of the first 30 of 80 Chicago Public Schools career academies. When fully operational, more than 23,000 students will attend these academies and be trained in a wide range of skills, from culinary arts to information technology to health sciences.
And, he said, he has charged new leadership with re-inventing the Chicago City Colleges system “from the ground up” to build a better educated, more skilled workforce.
Daley said the City must better train its adults -- from those who have lost their jobs and need to be retrained with modern skills -- to those who need to improve their skills. Toward that goal, Chicago has reinvented its workforce training programs to focus on the emerging sectors of the economy that will define Chicago’s future.
And the new Workforce Investment Council is improving the way Chicago invests more than $300 million in workforce development funds to assure that any citizen who needs or wants to attain the skills of the future can do so.
“Continuing to build a more modern and diverse economy that provides 21st century jobs across Chicago won't be easy. But, it is essential and we'll fund as much as we can afford to keep our efforts going,” he said.
“I know that if we work together to unleash even more of Chicago's potential, then we will move beyond the dark days of the recession and emerge stronger. And that better days, a bright future and greater opportunity for everyone lies ahead,” the Mayor said.
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