Critical Skills Shortage Initiative

Learnings from the CSSI Manufacturing Pilots in the Northeast Illinois Economic Development Region


The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is the regional chamber of commerce for the six county metropolitan region. The Chamber had a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity to provide services using WIA 10% Private Sector Based Training Program funds.  The major objective of the grant was to provide technical assistance and support to regional partners for CSSI Regional Manufacturing Initiatives and the implementation of the Illinois Workforce Investment Board Manufacturing Task Force recommendations. The grant activities integrated these efforts into Innovate Now and related efforts including the iBIO Institute and STEM-ED education initiatives in the Northeast Region and other regions as mutually agreed to and deemed necessary.

What Does That Mean?

I worked with the Chicagoland Chamber to do:
• Research into the outcomes of the 14 Critical Skill Shortages Initiatives (CSSI) Manufacturing projects in the Northeast Economic Development Region (EDR).

• Development and analysis of the learnings from the 14 CSSI Manufacturing projects in the Northeast Economic Development Region Initiative
• Dissemination of the learnings to area employers, LWIB’s, local One-Stops, and other workforce development professionals & interested parties across the State.
• Provision of technical assistance to the 14 project entities to help improve outcomes for the continuing projects.

No, manufacturing isn’t dead, but it sure does need a stream of capable workers if it is to survive in the new Global Economy. This is a great opportunity to look at what’s working in these pilots and to see what needs to be done to bring them to scale. This is a non-threatening evaluation of the pilots using the technique of Appreciative Inquiry. Email me if you would like a copy of the results.