Workforce intro


For our region to prosper economically, and sustain a high quality of life, it needs an educated, skilled labor force. The quality of the labor force is probably the single most important factor driving future economic prosperity.  The region is in constant competition with other metropolitan areas to attract both businesses and skilled workers. 

Regions that lack a strong labor force will have difficulty competing because, for most industries, labor force quality has become more important than physical assets or location.  GO TO 2040 recommends that the region's education and workforce development systems be improved to create a high-quality labor force for our future.

However, there are significant challenges to achieving this goal. Not just in the regional but across the U.S., student achievement has been declining compared to other industrialized nations. Access to high quality educational opportunities is quite inequitable, with dramatic differences in achievement across racial, ethnic, and economic lines. The workforce development system – which is meant to provide people with skills they need to succeed in the workplace, is complex, with a variety of programs, initiatives, and funding sources. Because of the complex number of players, coordination and communication between both the education and the workforce development systems is limited, and the actual needs of employers and workers are often not fully reflected. As the rate of economic and technological change grows, individuals increasingly need to learn new skills and be retrained multiple times, meaning that effective, adaptable, and coordinated systems for education and workforce development are increasingly important.


Manufacturing Partnership Strategic Plan for the Golden Corridor.   In 2009, the Village of Hoffman Estates helped form the Golden Corridor Manufacturing Group (GCMG) to represent and organize manufacturing stakeholders in the area. With the help of CMAP's Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program, the GCMG is seeking ways to expand and develop programs and resources that expose students and their parents, as well as school administrators, to the newly evolved manufacturing field and its career opportunities.

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Workforce Updates


April 26, 2016

Commute trends of CMAP region freight and manufacturing workers

Metropolitan Chicago's workforce is one of the most important factors in a strong regional economy.  An integral element -- regional workforce mobility, measured in this Policy Update by comm...

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May 21, 2015

Population change and geographic mobility in the CMAP region

A Policy Update assesses trends in U.S. Census data on migration and population change in our region and discusses their implications.

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March 04, 2015

Searching for Evidence of a Skills Gap in Manufacturing

New Policy Update looks at quantitative labor market data to determine the extent of the manufacturing skills gap in metropolitan Chicago.

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February 09, 2015

White House Releases FY16 Budget Proposal

A Policy Update describes housing and workforce and economic development provisions in the Obama Administration's $4 trillion budget proposal for FY16 .

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December 18, 2014

STEM Employment Trends in the Chicago Region

Innovation is a key factor in maintaining a globally competitive region, and policymakers and industry leaders look increasingly to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields to help ...

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December 04, 2014

New CMAP Report Examines Opportunities for Reorienting Economic Development in Region, State

Continued economic growth depends on the region and state’s ability to reorient policies and practices.

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August 14, 2014

Alternative Unemployment Measures Help Contextualize the Economic Downturn

CMAP's regional economic indicators microsite features key measures of metropolitan Chicago's economy and, where applicable, compares these measures to peer metropolitan areas.  The mi...

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July 28, 2014

Indicators Shed Light on Chicago Region’s Innovation Economy

On July 28, CMAP released data and analysis on innovation indicators -- venture capital activity, private-sector R&D employment, technology transfer, and patent production.

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July 22, 2014

Improved GO TO 2040 Case Study Library

Completed Local Technical Assistance projects and GO TO 2040-related work are highlighted in a new interactive map.

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July 21, 2014

Clusters Indicators Highlight Importance of Freight, Manufacturing in Region

On July 21, CMAP released data and analysis on clusters indicators – intermodal lifts, manufacturing and freight cluster employment and industry location quotients, and manufacturing exports.

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July 14, 2014

Workforce Indicators Show Growing STEM Employment, Manufacturing Skills Gap in Region

On July 14, 2014, CMAP released new data and analysis on workforce indicators – educational attainment, workforce participation, the skills gap, and STEM occupations.

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July 07, 2014

New microsite tracks regional economic trends

CMAP's microsite will focus on four major economic themes: trends, industry clusters, workforce, and innovation.

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June 26, 2014

Evaluating Housing and Transportation Costs in the CMAP Region

Very few parts of the region are affordable in terms of housing and transportation costs for low-income households.

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June 13, 2014

Draft GO TO 2040 plan update available for public comment through August 1, 2014

Submit comments on-line and attend open house meetings throughout the region for the draft GO TO 2040 plan update and FFY 2014-19 Transportation Improvement Program.

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May 20, 2014

OECD Examines Factors Contributing to Regional Productivity

New analysis investigates the effect that local governance, human capital, and freight activity can have on the overall productivity of metropolitan regions.

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May 15, 2014

Supporting the Freight-Manufacturing Nexus in the O’Hare Subregion

CMAP's new report assesses how local conditions support the competitiveness of the subregion's freight and manufacturing cluster and describes opportunities to ensure its continued success.

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March 18, 2014

White House Releases FY 2015 Budget Proposal

A CMAP Policy Update looks at regional and national implications of the Obama Administration's proposed 3.9 trillion budget for federal fiscal year 2015.

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January 31, 2014

Springfield Update on State of the State Address and CMAP 2014 Legislative Agenda and Framework

Legislators convened in Springfield for the second spring session of the 98 th Illinois General Assembly on January 28, 2014.  This Springfield Update discusses the Governor's State of the S...

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November 14, 2013

New Report Provides More Complete Picture of Trade Activity

Exports are an important indicator of economic health and trends. Until recently, however, related data focused exclusively on international exports, rather than between metropolitan regions. The ...

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August 13, 2013

CMAP Report Illustrates Importance of Freight and Manufacturing to Regional Economy

Metropolitan Chicago's clusters of specialized industries play a critical role in creating quality jobs and contributing to the overall regional economy's value-adding output, as noted by GO TO 2...

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