Our Mission

Chicago Jobs Council moves people out of poverty through employment using on-the-ground expertise, advocacy, and capacity-building.

Our Values

Stable Employment & Strong Communities

CJC recognizes stable employment with good pay, benefits, and opportunities for career advancement is the foundation of strong communities.


CJC’s work aims to create a more equitable society as we strive to dissolve structural inequalities contributing to racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in employment. View our racial equity statement here.

Evidence & On-the-Ground Experience

CJC uses evidence, research, and on-the-ground experience to advance employment policies and programs that challenge current practice and offer bold solutions to achieve greater impact.

Inclusion & Collaboration

CJC values inclusive relationships – working in teams, partnerships, coalitions – because collaboration that engages diverse experiences and considers others is key to our success.

Our vision is that all people – regardless of where they start or where they’ve been – can access employment as a pathway out of poverty.

Our vision is that all people – regardless of where they start or where they’ve been – can access employment as a pathway out of poverty.

Strategic Goals

  • Development of alternative business models that create opportunities for people living in poverty to get a job, start a business, and/or work in their community, and promote “high road” employer practices.

  • Inclusive continuum of education and training to build the skills of people living in poverty and align with skill demands in the labor market.

  • Reduced systemic barriers to employment experienced by people of color and women including occupational segregation, education, income disparities, and structural racism.

  • Expanded relationships with employers to work with CJC to promote employment for people living in poverty.

  • Expanded communications strategies that reach public decision-makers and result in changes to policies that keep people in poverty.

  • Robust network of community-based service providers that provide high quality services to the most marginalized job seekers.

  • Improved ability to document, measure, and communicate CJC’s impact on people’s ability to move out of poverty through employment.

  • Maintain a sustainable organizational infrastructure for CJC including financial, staff, and technological capabilities.

Our History

Founded in 1981 with 18 members, CJC was originally established to track economic development funds earmarked for low-income Chicago residents. The young coalition monitored the city’s public brick-and-mortar funding and developed advocacy efforts to build into skills training to broaden access to jobs.


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