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In Chicago (29% Latino population), the unemployment rates are staggering in some communities; some are as high as 31%, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. The city also has the highest rates of racial disparities in employment among major metro areas. Job availability, job readiness, and lack of training are some of the key reasons why many people are continually searching for employment.
Unemployment has been directly linked to serious health concerns. Research by Harvard University found that unemployment is associated with a range of increased health problems. For individuals with no prior health problems, being fired or laid off increased the risk of fair or poor health by 83 percent in this study.
A unique effort has been undertaken to address the city’s growing economic disparities. The Advocate Charitable Foundation, with the support of a $3 million grant from JP Morgan Chase, has developed the Healthcare Workforce Collaborative. This new initiative offers skills-based training with the goal of connecting the underemployed and unemployed with high-quality jobs.
The program will be implemented at Advocate South Suburban Hospital, the Advocate Christ Medical Center, the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, and the Advocate Trinity Hospital. All of these facilities are in the Chicago area. The program has different medical curriculum tracks that will take place over the span of the next five years. The first phase began in January of 2016; Phase II will begin in July 2016. The program will train 1,000 people over the next five years.
According to research by the Chicago Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Chicagoland health care sector is projected to have a 15% increase in available jobs by 2022. Training for the new initiative will be for Phlebotomist Technicians, Telemetry Techs, Logistic Techs, and Certified Medical Assistants. After completing the training and licensing examinations, participants will be guaranteed an interview and advocate and job placement assistance.
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