Skills for America's Future: Changing Lives Through a Jobs-First Model

Economic Opportunity Challenge
Skills for Chicagoland's Future

This project drives economic mobility directly and indirectly for over 500,000 unemployed or under employed job seekers in 25 cities in 10 years by scaling the proven Skills jobs-first model, with a focus on historically disinvested communities.

Last Updated: May 2023
Competition Participation
EOC Website Logo
Economic Opportunity Challenge
Job creation and workforce development
  • Illinois, United States of America
  • Rhode Island, United States of America
  • Arizona, United States of America
  • California, United States of America
  • Connecticut, United States of America
  • Florida, United States of America
  • Georgia, United States of America
  • At-risk youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ex-offenders
  • 8. Decent work and economic growth
  • 10. Reduced inequalities

Executive Summary

The barriers to economic opportunity and social injustices millions of individuals faced prior to COVID-19 have only been exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic. Since March 2020, millions across the nation have become unemployed and feel helpless with nowhere to turn because they do not have a way to access jobs and companies looking for talent.

The Skills jobs-first model was created to address this opportunity gap and the barriers skilled, job-ready individuals face - of no fault of their own - but because they are unemployed, live in a certain area, or have a non-traditional background. The Skills model has eliminated barriers to employment for thousands of people in Chicago and Rhode Island, resulting in employment and access to economic mobility that was previously unattainable. The Skills model is proven to create pathways for economic mobility and can do so in cities and regions nationwide.

In 10 years, Skills plans to replicate its model in 25 sites nationally. This will result in 500,000 people directly and indirectly being placed into jobs using a demand-driven model and over $11 billion in economic impact.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

Skills for Chicagoland's Future

Organization Headquarters
Illinois, United States of America
Organization ID
Number of Full-time Employees
51 to 100
Annual Operating Budget
$5.1 to 10 Million

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity

Organizations may provide budget and employee data based on this proposal or the organization as a whole. For more information on this proposal or organization, please email us.


In the past year, Skills has seen enormous growth in its National Expansion efforts. Skills signed a letter of intent with a new partner to further experiment and launch a third expansion site in 2022. In November of 2021, the organization launched a Request for Partnership (RFP) to build a site pipeline of new potential partners nationally, garnering responses across the United States.

Additionally, Skills has begun to develop training curriculum and delivery modules for sites and will build and launch a comprehensive digital training platform in 2022 to maximize its ability, speed, and impact of remote training. 

Help Fund Bold Solutions

Learn more and help fund this highly-rated project:

Lever for change arrows logo