Service Connector agencies help CHA residents through job training and placement programs.
In 2006, the Chicago Dept. of
Human Services (CDHS) increased the number of agencies receiving three-year
contracts for services to CHA residents as part of the Chicago Housing
Authority’s (CHA) Service Connector program.
There are now 13 agencies operating in
37 offices across
over 12,000 CHA residents in family properties, scattered sites, and those with
Housing Choice Vouchers.
the addition of new Service Connector agencies, the program has enhanced its
focus on workforce development and employment services in response to the needs
of CHA residents and the challenge of achieving self-sufficiency with limited
education, job skills, and work experience.
Though participation in the Service Connector program is not required, agencies
perform aggressive outreach to engage residents and inform them of available services
and opportunities. In 2005, 99.6 percent of eligible CHA residents were
contacted by Service Connector agencies and, of those contacted, 60 percent are
actively involved with their Service Connectors.
Despite the barriers to
employment faced by many CHA residents, the Service Connector program achieves
1,200 job placements per year, with 50 percent of residents retaining jobs for
at least 30 days in 2005.
50 percent, 30 percent of residents retained jobs for at least 90 days. In the
first quarter of 2006, 205 job placements were made via the Service Connector.
residents become self-sufficient via job training
and placement strategies is one of the most challenging goals of the Plan
for Transformation. In 2005, 44 percent of residents eligible for Service
Connector assistance had education levels below high school and lacked GEDs; 84
percent had mathematical knowledge below 9th grade level, and 63 percent had
reading abilities between 1st and 8th grades. Furthermore, as a recent article
about the MidSouth community
points out, many of the neighborhoods where CHA
families are currently living lack basic resources and services.
In efforts to broaden the scope of employment services,
Service Connector agencies now work in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of
Workforce Development to plan job training and placement strategies for CHA
In addition, City
coordinate with Service Connector
agencies to provide “bridge” programs for residents in need of literacy,
education skills, and career orientation and to offer training for jobs in
Feb. 2006, the Mayor’s Office and CHA launched a new initiative, “Opportunity
Chicago,” a program with the goal of identifying 1,000 permanent jobs per year
suitable to CHA residents. According to CHA, more
employers have already signed up to place public housing residents through
“Opportunity Chicago.” Employers participating in this program receive federal
tax credits ranging from $2,500 to $8,500 per eligible employee
National Able Network, a Service
Connector agency, will maintain a database of jobs as part of this new
For a list of Service Connector agencies and
their contact information, visit the Chicago Dept. of Human Services Web site.
Click here for a map showing the geographical scope
of Service Connectors.