Workforce Development

Based upon our analysis, we know that it will take at least 63,000 residents employed in skilled jobs making $36,000/year to move the West Side from poverty to low income. This reflects the work that must be done to reduce poverty at the individual and family level. Over ten years, this work is projected to generate about $1.2 billion in new annual wage income for the West Side.

Utilizing projections about job turn-over and retention, we believe that 116,000 job opportunities will need to be filled by trained and qualified West Side residents in the next decade to produce a steady state increase of 63,000 people employed in skilled jobs. Of these, 27,000 jobs will be for those who are currently unemployed — or newly employed jobs — and 36,000 will be for incumbent workers who upgrade their skills to move from a low wage job to a skilled job making at least $17.32/hour.

West Side residents must be prepared for jobs in the industry areas that are accessible, promise both job growth over the next decade and that pay a median wage that allows them to move out of poverty. Based upon our analysis, these industry areas include:

• Advanced Manufacturing
• Bookkeeping & Accounting Clerks
• Health Technologists & Technicians
• Entrepreneurial Business Start-Ups
• Information & Records Clerks
• Construction Trade Workers
• Computer specialists

AAdvanced Manufacturing Training Program

With its rich manufacturing history, West Side Chicago neighborhoods already have the prime infrastructure to take advantage of recent advances in American manufacturing. There are an estimated 200 manufacturers near Bethel’s service area that produce annual sales of around $1.5 billion and employ a workforce of nearly 9,000.

Across the Chicago region as well as on the West Side there is a growing demand from manufacturers for applicants with computerized numerical control credentials. American manufacturing has become much more advanced and computerized. Persons with skills to operate high-tech machines are in demand. Careers in Advanced Manufacturing can be financially rewarding for the employee that the communities where these businesses exist and where employees live. If more West Side residents acquired Advanced Manufacturing jobs, they could generate a tremendous positive economic impact on the entire area. Learn more about Bethel’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Program.