Unintentionally a well-kept secret, Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) Workers Assistance Committee has been connecting job seekers to employers throughout Chicagoland since 1994.
When CFL Workers Assistance Committee opened its doors, the organization primarily focused on assisting people laid off from work due to an increase in plant closures.
23 years later, the organization is not only connecting potential employees to employers, it is also dedicated to developing and strengthening the skills of Chicagoland workers to fulfill the needs of area employers and vitalize the local economy.
"We have been adapting in the last few years because we know how important it is to not only understand the job seekers perspective, but also the needs of the business community," said Eileen Vesey, Senior Program Manager. "We are taking a more holistic approach by communicating with local businesses, unions and educational resources to align training programs."
With stronger communication amongst businesses, unions and schools, CFL Workers Assistance Committee has been successful in offering programs that give job seekers the tools and training they need to be successful.
CFL Workers Assistance Committee now provides more services than ever before, including career counseling, training, navigation of online applications, and more to hundreds of individuals looking for employment opportunities.
The organization has also become a go-to for employers looking to tap into a pool of skilled and screened workers who have specific work experience to contribute to a company's growth.
Bonus! They match companies with funding to help reimburse a portion of training costs associated with teaching workers competitive skills.
"We truly have been able to drill down to the big issues and needs across many industries," Eileen said. "It is so important for us to maintain strong partnerships and ensure people have a meaningful experience."
Although CFL Workers Assistance Committee works within many industries, they have created a manufacturing initiative focused on providing tech assistance, customizing programs to meet individual business needs, finding resources to help cover inside costs, and providing on-the-job training, recruiting, hiring and screening.
"There are a lot of misconceptions in the manufacturing industry. Job seekers often aren't sure what the environment will be like and what standard training they will need to get into manufacturing," Eileen said.
"A lot of people also don't realize that manufacturing is very high tech now. It's very technical and requires specific skills which can be challenging for recruiting."
Companies of any size can take advantage of CFL Workers Assistance Committee's resources and the committee doesn't charge for any of its services.
"We understand the current system doesn't do the best job communicating what resources are out there," Eileen said. "We have found a niche where we can meet directly with decision makers, perform a needs assessment, find resources to help cover costs and set up a training framework relatively fast."
CFL Workers Assistance Committee is dedicated to helping shift the thought process of both job seekers and employers to be more proactive than reactive. "Regardless if you are a company or an individual, your background, job history, training or education, there is a program for you," Elieen said. "Don't be afraid to reach out."
For more information on CFL Workers Assistance Committee, visit http://www.cflwac.org/.