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Employers, city, county seek to match worker skills with job openings

Updated: October 15, 2012 9:36AM

The city of Chicago and Cook County will join with private foundations to support a program to train workers for jobs that employers urgently need to fill.

Called Skills for Chicagoland’s Future or SCF, the program will follow a new approach by working mostly with employers to learn their needs, rather than arbitrarily training people in a skill for which there may be little demand, said its president and chief executive officer, Marie Trzupek Lynch.

Unemployed people in Cook County can use the program’s web site to register their skills for available openings. The web site is and the phone number is (312) 906-7200.

The program represents “a big paradigm shift,” Lynch said. “It is 100 percent focused on business demand and understanding where those jobs are before we allocate training dollars.”

She said it has a $3.2 million annual budget, two-thirds of which is from state and local governments. Lynch said it also is seeking federal job training money.

SCF will answer to a board led by business leader Penny Pritzker, who is active in workforce training as chairman of the national Skills for America’s Future program.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the program will shrink the “skills gap” that keeps people out of work while employers look hard for qualified help.

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