The prosperity of Illinois' families, communities and economy are inextricably linked. When families prosper, Illinois' tax base expands, public dependence declines, and local communities are stable and thrive. Illinois has a history of prosperity and a high standard of living. But we are facing challenges. Many working adults are not able to access jobs with family-supporting wages because they lack the education and skills training needed to advance. At the same time, many employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find the skilled employees they need. Both trends have a direct and negative impact on our economy and our communities. As we try to address these challenges as a state, we do so with extremely limited resources. More than ever, we must invest wisely, in ways that will yield the greatest returns. This requires a thorough analysis of how we distribute our resources, the policies that affect how they are used, and the outcomes for Illinois. To this end, the Women Employed Institute and the Chicago Jobs Council offer this report, which assesses how Illinois' workforce and economic development policies serve the needs of our families and the state as a whole. In this analysis we highlight Illinois' strengths as well as opportunities to better leverage our workforce and economic development dollars.
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