Workforce Readiness in our Community…
The Chamber is Involved and Taking Action
“The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce is committed to workforce readiness in order to provide our members with the trained work force necessary to grow our business community. We dedicate our support and leadership to help leverage community resources for career awareness and experience, and to help foster a sense of community and cooperation among educational groups and businesses working together to create a pipeline of qualified youth prepared to enter into the local workforce.”
Jared C. Rogers, M.D.
Regional President, OSF HealthCare
Board Officer – Chair
Chamber Board of Directors
Interested in finding out more about workforce readiness? Please contact Mindy Cain, Director of Workforce Readiness & Member Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org; or at 217.359.1791.
iRead • iCount
Why Does Reading by Grade Level Matter to Our Community?
Up until third grade, students are learning to read. After third grade, students are reading to learn. Studies show that if a student has not learned to read by third grade, they will continue to fall behind in future grade levels and will be faced with fewer career options. With additional supports, these students will be more likely to make a sustainable wage as adults to support themselves and their families. This means they will be more likely to be a productive contributor to our local economy.
This innovative community literacy program has the goal to improve literacy in our community and to help close the achievement gap. It is a volunteer-based program in which volunteers will spend one hour a week (or more) at the schools working one-on-one with the students who need the most help with reading. The curriculum is age appropriate and developed by Unit 4 literacy specialists. All volunteers will be trained to help students master the fundamentals of reading.
We need our area professionals to be part of the community solution to overcome an achievement gap that simply is not acceptable for Champaign County, Illinois. This important initiative could have tremendous impact on the lives of the students served and for the community as a whole.
Thank you for considering to be a volunteer for the iRead • iCount Program. We appreciate the support of our Chamber and community members to help improve literacy in our community.
We are better when we all work together.
CLICK HERE to learn more.
Regional Workforce Profile
Based in Urbana, Illinois, the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) is an intergovernmental membership organization that provides a variety of programming in the areas of regional, environmental, and transportation planning; economic, community, and workforce development; social services; early childhood education; and technical assistance in East Central Illinois.
RPC administers the federal workforce development program in East Central Illinois. The local workforce investment area (LWIA) includes Champaign, Ford, Piatt, and Iroquois counties. The federal workforce program is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market, and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.
As part of a comprehensive laborshed study being conducted by RPC in 2018 and 2019, regional workforce profiles have been compiled in order to provide an initial overview of each county’s workforce demographics.
CLICK HERE to view the full report.
CU Cradle2Career (CUC2C)
CUC2C is a collective group of concerned individuals and institutions working together to encourage greater alignment of organizations, education, business, and resources for the betterment of our children.
Workforce Readiness, one work group under the CUC2C and anchored by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, has been analyzing and piecing together information for a community-wide plan to make Champaign-Urbana students’ workforce ready. The Chamber is working closely with teachers and personnel from Unit 4 and Unit 116, as well as leaders from local youth organizations, to identify how we can provide career pathway education for our students. Our students need social emotional and career technical education in the classroom, and in our local youth programs, to slowly start to eliminate the skill deficit for area employers. But it will take all vested stakeholders rowing in the same direction. Although these efforts will not produce instant results, it is an investment in the future of your company because today’s student will become tomorrow’s workforce.
Construction Trades Education Program
Champaign County contractors have a need for a qualified work force and many open positions go unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers. The Chamber has been working closely with the U of I Institute for Labor Diversity to help to provide construction career education in high schools so that students are aware of the opportunities in these different areas.
Healthcare Careers Program for High School Students
The healthcare field has many job opportunities, with more projected in the coming years, but will be facing a shortfall of qualified employees. The Chamber, Champaign, Rantoul, and Urbana Schools, along with Carle Foundation Hospital, Christie Clinic, Clark-Lindsey Village, and OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center, are working together on a Healthcare Careers Program where students interested in healthcare careers can have the opportunity to work at the medical facilities in different departments to get hands-on experiences. The Pilot Program was held in Spring of 2018 with 20 students, and Fall of 2018 expanded to 57 students. The Healthcare Program Committee is working towards expanding this program to also include a coursework schedule for high school and post-secondary education requirements for the variety of careers in this field. The Chamber and the community partners in this program are committed to providing a pipeline of much needed workforce-ready employees for the healthcare field.
Summer Youth Internship Program
The Chamber is working closely with Champaign Youth Employment Services (YES), Urbana Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), and Champaign Area Relationship Education for Youth (CARE4U) to help provide more summer youth work experiences for students. We are coordinating volunteers to review student resumes and provide professional advice, and are working to help provide assistance for students who need to get the correct identification needed to be employed. New this year will be LinkedIn training for students so they can make sure that they are formatting their online social profiles correctly for what employers want.