CCH supports jobs initiatives that create living wage employment for low-wage workers.

CCH partners in the Fight for $15 Chicago, a national movement to raise hourly wages for fast food and retail workers to $15 an hour. CCH mobilizes homeless low-wage workers.

At Fight for $15’s May Day rally, 2017 (Photo by Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

In 2015, the city of Chicago reported that 14% of shelter residents were employed. This data did not include the share of homeless workers who must live doubled-up with others (per the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 2015 report).

Our Jobs Project partnered with Raise Illinois for its 2014 campaign. We pushed to increase the Illinois minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, up from the $8.25 rate set  in July 2010. But state leaders failed to enact a $10 wage, despite overwhelming endorsement by Illinois voters – 87.8% of Chicago voters and 66.4% statewide endorsed the hourly wage increase in November 2014 advisory referendum.

But inspired by the wage campaigns, city of Chicago leaders acted. The Chicago City Council adopted staggered wage increases that by 2019 will increase the hourly wage to $13. For those employed in Chicago, the second city wage hike took effective July 1, 2016, to $10.50 an hour.

In 2010, the CCH Jobs Project proposed and helped design Put Illinois to Work, a subsidized state-run program that employed more than 27,300 people over nine months. Funded with federal stimulus and state grants, Put Illinois to Work was developed by CCH working with several state and non-profit agencies, including the Illinois Department of Human Services.

CCH proposed Put Illinois to Work based on a national model it advocated in partnership with the Center for Community Change in Washington, D.C. Put Illinois to Work employed low-income parents and youth in $10-an-hour jobs for 30 to 40 hours per week.

For more information about the Jobs Project, contact Community Organizer Keith Freeman.