O*NET OnLine: The interactive occupational information network (Part II)

By Zafer Sonmez 

An earlier blog post described the online tools and information provided by O*NET Online.  This post focuses on how workforce development agencies and potentially economic development policy makers could utilize O*NET data.

The core mission of workforce development agencies is to help workers and businesses transition in a changing economy. These agencies constantly strive to align their policies and programs with projected labor market demands. They also try to influence future demand by increasing the supply of workers with certain skill sets, with the end goal of aiding the growth of targeted industries (e.g. green industries) in a region.

O*NET provides key components of the data needed in this process. Below I discuss three specific areas where O*NET OnLine could be a primary data source for workforce development agencies in advancing their goals. Continue reading


O*NET OnLine: The interactive occupational information network (Part I)

By Zafer Sonmez

This is the first of two blog posts exploring O*Net Online, and how it can be useful for workforce development agencies in advancing our green economy (Part II is here). The online tools and information provided by O*NET, the occupational information network, and its complementary databases can help with defining green occupations and analyzing skill gaps, transferability and educational requirements.

The transition to a green economy is causing big changes in employment demand and worker requirements such as tasks, skills, knowledge, and credentials. In this process, the importance of systematic, up-to-date data is critical in advancing workforce development goals. Continue reading

Raising minimum wage to $15 would increase tax revenue by $2.4 billion in Illinois AND increase housing affordability

Raising the minimum wage stands to impact Illinois workers’ ability to sustain families and cover expenses including high housing costs. Whether in the form of rent or mortgage payments and maintenance costs, housing costs make up the largest monthly expense for most households. However, a common concern is that raising minimum wage may actually increase unemployment.

Findings from our report The Impact of a Minimum Wage Increase on Housing Affordability in Illinois suggest that raising the minimum wage will not only increases housing affordability, it will raise tax revenue and have minimal impact on employment levels. This report is timely, as minimum wage bills make their way through the legislative process. Continue reading

Transformed? Public Housing in Chicago 2000-2015

by Andrew Greenlee (Assistant Professor, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Janet Smith (Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago)

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) launched its Plan for Transformation (pdf) (PFT) in 2000. This included demolishing and replacing most of the large family projects on Chicago’s south and west sides with lower density, mixed income communities.

The PFT, initially a 10-year plan focused on redeveloping 25,000 units, is still working towards this goal after 15 years. According to the 2015 data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 21,285 public housing units have been completed and 17,673 are occupied. According to the CHA, there are ten new projects in the pipeline.

As the CHA moves forward, a new ordinance is being considered. The City of Chicago Keeping the Promise Ordinance aims to “strengthen City Council oversight of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) in order to maximize the impact of the public resources under the CHA’s stewardship and to increase housing options for low-income households in opportunity communities.” Seeking to better coordinate city planning efforts and resources, the ordinance aims to help to increase the housing choices available to low-income residents including those residing in public housing.

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How Accessible is Chicago Transit to Persons with Disabilities?

By Lauren Nolan, AICP

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA aims to open all the doors to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. One means to this end is increasing access to opportunities through accessible transportation options.

Chicago has an extensive transit system spanning seven different elevated train lines and hundreds of bus routes.  Some of these lines run 24 hours a day.  But how accessible is this transit wealth to Chicagoans with disabilities?  And are there disparities in access between the disabled and non-disabled population?

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The Affordability Challenge: Chicago Updates the Affordable Requirements Ordinance

By: Charles Dabah

Since its adoption in 2003, Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) has been an important mechanism for the creation of affordable rental and for-sale housing in private-market developments. Developments subject to the ARO are required to set aside 10% of units to be built as affordable housing, with projects receiving financial assistance from the City required to make 20% of the units affordable. Developers who want to opt out of building the affordable units can pay an in-lieu fee of $100,000 per required unit, most of which will go toward future construction of affordable housing. Continue reading

Chicago by the Numbers: What We Know from the Latest American Community Survey

By: Lauren Nolan, AICP

On September 17th, the US Census Bureau released results from the latest American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is an ongoing annual survey administered by the US Census Bureau that provides vital information about the nation’s population and its characteristics.  Here are the survey results for Chicago on several key data points, with a look at trends over the past five years:

Modest Population Growth

The 2014 ACS estimates Chicago’s population to be 2,722,407 (+/- 79), which is an approximate 3,618 increase over last year’s figure of 2,718,789 (+/- 52). While the ACS produces population estimates, the official estimates of total population for the nation, states, counties, cities, and towns is produced by the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program (PEP). The PEP uses data on births, deaths, and migration to construct time series figures for each year between the decennial censuses. The latest PEP figure for Chicago in 2014 is 2,722,389, which is similar to the ACS estimate. With either estimate, Chicago saw an approximate 1% growth from 2010, which outpaces growth for Illinois as a whole (.3%), but is less than the national increase of 3.1%. Continue reading