When local residents and businesses thrive, their communities do too. The University of Chicago is committed to helping to strengthen communities surrounding our campus by creating opportunities for residents and business owners. Through the UChicago Local initiative, the University partners with organizations throughout the city of Chicago to connect businesses and job seekers in mid-South Side neighborhoods to opportunities at the University, the University of Chicago Medicine, and their vendor networks.
The University of Chicago is the largest employer on the South Side of Chicago, with nearly 6,000 staff employees of the University and medical center living within seven zip codes near its campus. In fiscal 2014, those area residents accounted for about one-third of UChicago’s total staff. Read our Employment Impact report.
UChicago Local works to advance local hiring by supporting workforce development agencies in their efforts to match mid-South Side residents with jobs and prepare them for employment. Current programs include:
The University of Chicago has formed a referral partnership with 741 Collaborative Partnership, a nonprofit collaborative of 10 workforce development agencies, that will help link local residents working with any of 741’s partner agencies to job opportunities at the University, the Medical Center, and surrounding businesses.
Opportunity Link will:
- Make 741 a first contact for open positions at the University and UChicago Medicine
- Facilitate on-campus recruiting sessions for job candidates working through 741
- Help establish relationships between 741 and other mid-South Side employers
- Employ two part-time undergraduate interns to support the organization’s work
Training for Local Workforce Development Agencies:
UChicago Local provides workforce development practitioners with training and informational resources that prepare them to better serve mid-South Side job seekers. Programs include:
- Chicago Jobs Council Partnership: UChicago, through the Chicago Jobs Council, will provide 27 hours of coursework for job developers and case managers at community-based organizations that support mid-South Side residents. All coursework will provide credit hours that can be applied to the Chicago Jobs Council’s certificate programs.
- UChicago Local Workforce Conference: On August 22, 2014, the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement, in collaboration with Chapin Hall and the Chicago Jobs Council, convened more than 200 frontline workforce development practitioners and local and national industry experts for a day-long conference to discuss emerging trends and strategies in workforce development.
Local Business Support
UChicago Local supports mid-South Side businesses through an array of efforts, including:
Through UChicago Local, the University and Medical Center are realigning normal purchasing activity to potentially transfer business to competitive local vendors and, as a result, have a greater impact in local communities. The initiative targets prospective businesses in eight categories:
- Consulting and professional services
- Plant and maintenance services
- Food supplies, dining and social activities
- Non-shop supplies and equipment
- Transportation and livery services
- Shop supplies and equipment
- Equipment lease and rental
- Space lease and rental
In partnership with Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE), UChicago Local provides training to help local companies grow their business to the next level by building capacity in core business skills, including:
- Talent management
For information on how to get involved with CASE, visit the CASE website.
Business Showcase Events
Through the UChicago Local initiative, the Office of Civic Engagement hosts or sponsors regular forums for mid-South Side businesses to showcase their products and services to UChicago and UChicago Medicine staff, faculty and students.