Leaders from across northeastern Illinois joined together on Monday to support a strong economic recovery and build back a more inclusive, prosperous, and resilient region. The task force was assembled by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) at the request of the region’s seven county board chairs and the City of Chicago. It also builds off of the regional elements of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-standing challenges in the region’s economy, including stagnating economic growth and pay disparities among Black and Brown communities. But the crisis has also created an opportunity: to more intentionally rebuild the region and ensure economic growth that reduces inequality and strengthens the region’s resilience.
The Regional Economic Recovery Task Force, which includes members from each of the seven counties and Chicago, recognizes that the region is stronger when it works together as one. This is reflected in ON TO 2050, the region’s long-range plan, as well as the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force advisory report, which called for regional coordination.
By bringing together city and suburban leaders, experts, and advisors throughout northeastern Illinois, CMAP will help the region agree on priorities, collaborate on solutions, and speak as one collective voice. The task force is co-chaired by Erin Aleman, executive director of CMAP, and Paul Goodrich, who represents the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force and Choose Chicago.
Aleman noted that CMAP continues to be guided by the three principles that shaped ON TO 2050:
The only way to grow our economy is inclusively through opportunity for all.
We need to prepare for rapid changes, both known and unknown, through resilient policies and infrastructure.
We have to carefully target resources to maximize benefit by prioritizing our investments.
Goodrich called on task force members to become better partners to the private sector, bridge the gaps between workers seeking to build a career and employers looking to build their workforce, and reimagine how to promote the region as a destination for people, conventions, business investment, and talent.
The task force includes a policy committee and three working groups that are each dedicated to addressing a key issue:
The working groups will meet monthly over the next year to identify immediate and long-term actions for the region.
As the comprehensive planning agency for northeastern Illinois, CMAP has a history of convening and facilitating regional stakeholders to develop regional action strategies. “Knowing that we are stronger with regional consensus, we are pleased to bring together stakeholders to speak in one collective voice for an equitable tomorrow,” Aleman said.
Watch a video with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin about regional recovery efforts.