Thursday, September 14, 2017

Honoring POW/MIA Recognition Day at Cantigny Park

by Paul Herbert, Executive Director, First Division Museum at Cantigny Park

A major theme of the recently re-opened First Division Museum at Cantigny Park is “Our Soldiers,” a reminder that all our service-members are ours. We must care about their welfare, about where they go and why and we must welcome them home. But some do not return. In the conflicts from World War II to the present, more than 82,000 Americans are still missing in action. To help keep them in the public’s (and government’s) mind, we at Cantigny Park are observing National POW/MIA Recognition Day on September 15. We will proudly fly the National League of Families black and white POW/MIA flag and we will remind our fellow citizens of our solemn responsibility to bring these people home.

Fortunately, our government is making progress. There is a permanent agency dedicated to accounting for, identifying and recovering the missing – the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Underfunded and under staffed, it has nonetheless accounted for 132 missing service-members just in 2017. A look at their photo gallery reminds us that these missing Americans were once very much among us – they were, they are, Our Soldiers. They gave their all for us – now we need to do our all to bring them home.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Exciting Times for the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance

by Molly Baltman-Leonard, Assistant Director/Grantmaking, Communities Program

In May 2017, the Chicagoland Workforce Funders Alliance, a collaboration of foundations and corporate funders focused on employment equity, received a $1 million personal gift from President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. The Obama’s donation will support an effort to open apprenticeship pathways into the building trades for adults, especially young adults, who have been underrepresented in the trades sector.

In partnership with the Obama Foundation, the Chicago Jobs Council, and a variety of other foundations and corporate partners, the Obamas’ gift will help to identify and solve workforce challenges within the Building Trade Sector such as:

  • Capturing better data on diversity and inclusion.
  • Coordinating leadership from "construction buyers" to support shared solutions and track progress in the sector as a whole.
  • Designing and supporting effective career pathways for young adults to access jobs and apprenticeships as alternatives to four-year higher-education institutions.

Formed in 2012, the Funder Alliance collaborates with employers and other workforce stakeholders to increase employment, earnings, and race equity for underprepared workers in the Chicago region. The Alliance is built on the notion that a skilled workforce creates more successful businesses, more stable families, and a stronger economy. As one of its shining beacons, Matthew Bruce believes, “workforce development is at its core community development, because with a strong labor force a community can invest in itself and thrive.”