Persistent Wage Gap Invisible to Most

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune highlights the contradiction that 70% of U.S. employees (78% of men; 60% of women) believe that men and women are paid equally at their company, while government data ((BLS 2014)) shows that women's full-time weekly earnings are, on average, 82.5 percent of men's. This fact is not due to [...]

The State of the State Falls Short

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner delivered the yearly State of the State address on Wednesday amidst the continuing budget crisis. The governor spoke about many of the pressing issues that Illinois faces in the coming year and outlined some of his plans to address such challenges while ignoring much of what we feel is truly important, [...]

Illinois Must Not Abandon Its Community Colleges

"In the coming years, jobs requiring at least an associate degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience. We will not fill those jobs – or keep those jobs on our shores – without the training offered by community colleges.” President Obama As the leaders of Illinois fail to [...]

License Suspension and Revocation in Illinois

The WIRE has previously looked at the negative impacts that driver’s license suspension and revocation has on low-income workers. A past WIRE blog post discussed the long road that one individual, Kelvin Anderson, faced in unsuccessfully trying to get his driver’s license back. Kelvin’s account illustrates the complexity of the driver’s license system and  the [...]

What Local Business Leaders Can Learn from the Laquan McDonald Murder Case

Reposted with permission from Chicago United. Bold added for emphasis.  As CEO of Chicago United, I join the local community in its deep disturbance and outrage around the police video depicting the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at the hands of former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, released November 24. While much attention [...]

Skills Catch 22

As is the case for many social service agencies in Illinois, many immigrant-serving agencies are finding the need for services is greater than their capacity to serve. A survey of 200 immigrant-serving organizations reveals important gaps in access to adult education and workforce services—both of which are essential for effective immigration integration efforts. Lack of [...]

Child Care Needs Some Care

Three highlights from a new publication by the Economic Policy Institute illustrate the ways high-quality child care is out of reach for working and middle-class families in Illinois and Chicago. This report also reminds us how Gov. […]

7 Takeaways From the 2014 Poverty Report

Last month the U.S Census Bureau released a new report on the income and poverty in the United States, as well as information on other important health and income trends. Here's what you need to know: There is strong evidence that health reform is dramatically reducing the ranks of uninsured individual—2014 is the largest single-year [...]

Making Sense of Credentials

Deciding on a particular training program or a specific certification to pursue can be confusing and difficult. Extensive labor market information about careers is available from sources like O*Net and the Occupational Outlook Handbook, but data about specific certificates and credentials can be harder to find. Here are a few places to start. Find local [...]

Latino Unemployment Up Slightly in July

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) highlighted food service jobs as a bright spot for Latino workers in July. Latinos make up one quarter of the industry's workforce, which gained 29,000 jobs nationally last month. (In the total workforce, Latinos make up 16%.) However, the overall unemployment rate for Latinos went up from 6.6% in [...]