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In 2010, the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods and the Illinois Department of Human Services leveraged philanthropic funds and federal TANF Emergency Funds to create Chicago Neighborhood JobStart. JobStart placed low‐income youth and adults from historically high‐unemployment neighborhoods into temporary jobs with local employers, subsidized their wage and payroll costs, and provided supportive services to help them maintain employment.

The Social IMPACT Research Center’s evaluation of Jobstart included review of program records, interviews, and participant, employer, and staff surveys. The full evaluation report highlights the following:

Participant Outcomes:

  • In the course of 4 months JobStart recruited and trained 1,618 participants and placed 1,518 into transitional jobs.
  • On average, adult participants worked 9.1 weeks and earned twice their average household income upon entering JobStart.
  • Among participant survey respondents, 77.2% reported that JobStart allowed them to support their families or pay their bills and 62.8% reported that without JobStart they would likely have been unemployed. 

Economic Impact:

  • JobStart participants earned $3.9 million in wages through the program.
  • Assuming they spent 70% of wages earned in the retail sector of Cook County, JobStart wages were associated with a $5.1 million increase in demand for goods and services across all sectors, a $1.2 million increase in household earnings, and an increase in employment of 44 jobs across Cook County. 

Employer Experience:

  • Among JobStart employers who responded to an evaluation survey, the majority reported that employing JobStart participants resulted in moderate positive effects on business performance in the areas of productivity, quality of work, number of customers or clients they were able to serve, customer or client satisfaction, and workforce satisfaction with workload.
  • Most employer respondents (85.1%) reported that they would participate in JobStart or a similar program again.

The evaluation report also includes detailed documentation of implementation of the program, interactions with Put Illinois to Work, challenges faced, and recommendations for future subsidized and transitional employment initiatives.

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