The Crown Family School to Support the Bipartisan Illinois Future of Work Task Force as Academic Partner

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Crown Family School News

Bipartisan Illinois Future of Work Task Force launches, tackling workforce challenges ahead

Gov. Pritzker, Democratic and Republican leaders convene government, labor movement, business leaders to confront seismic shifts in economic environment

CHICAGO (September 28, 2021)--Convened by Gov. JB Pritzker and Democratic and Republican legislative leadership and powered by a bold agenda to confront unprecedented challenges facing Illinois' workforce in the coming decade, the bipartisan Illinois Future of Work Task Force held its first meeting today at Olive-Harvey College on Chicago's South Side. The 26-member panel includes leading employers, economic thinkers, and representatives from the labor movement. It is chaired by State Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Marcus Evans (D-Chicago), with a mission over the next nine months to analyze major economic shifts and emerging technologies, and prepare policy recommendations that help the state to combat the worsening crisis of poverty, inequality, and climate change.

The task force is charged with issuing its findings in a report for the Illinois Legislature identifying the main problems facing workers and businesses of the future, and outlining proactive policy solutions to keep Illinois ahead of coming economic trends.

"We are proud to see this bipartisan, diverse task force convening and ready to take on the challenges ahead. This task force is the first of its kind in the Midwest, and the first in the country to address the future of work in the wake of the pandemic and its impact on our economy," said Harish I. Patel, Director of Economic Security for Illinois, which spearheaded the effort to convene the task force. "This task force puts the future of Illinois' workforce in capable hands."

Task force members were appointed by legislative leaders from both political parties. The 26 members and 2 co-chairs were appointed by Gov. Pritzker, Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich), House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D-Westchester), and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).

"The future of work is now; and working people across Illinois are counting on us to create an economy that works for everyone," said State Senator Ram Villivalam, a co-chair of the task force. "Our team on the Future of Work task force is laying the foundation for 21st Century jobs to continue to grow, while fighting for dignified working conditions for all."

Economic Security for Illinois will work alongside the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to support the logistics and management of the task force operations. The University of Chicago's Inclusive Economy Lab, University of Chicago's Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, and Metropolitan Planning Council will serve as academic partners supporting the task force in the production of the final report for the General Assembly as well as technical and communications support. Crown Family School Professor Susan Lambert has worked with the lead team to help ensure the initiative focuses on improving job quality. "We need to improve the jobs themselves as workforce development programs tend to train workers for what are often poor quality jobs," says Lambert.

"The Crown Family School is committed to preparing the next generation of leaders to confront social inequality as it takes place on the front lines of key societal institutions," adds Adrian Talbott, Crown Family School Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement. "That is why we are thrilled to leverage the School's core strengths in research and teaching to help the task force develop policy recommendations that will make the state's workforce more inclusive and resilient."

Meetings are open to the public at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's website.

The task force convenings will cover topics including:

  • Overview: The Present and Future State of Work in Illinois
  • Creating Jobs that Sustain and Uplift
  • New Technologies and Challenges Reshaping Work
  • Education, Skills and Barriers
  • Labor Benefits, Protections and Standards Enforcement
  • Transportation, Logistics, Green Jobs

The Future of Work Task Force members are as follows:


  • Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago)
  • Representative Marcus C. Evans Jr. (D-Chicago)


  • Dr. Carmen Ayala, Illinois State Board of Education
  • Erica Bland-Durosinmi, SEIU Healthcare Illinois/Indiana
  • Dalene Bramer, Uber
  • Steve Campbell, Local 881 United Food and Commercial Workers
  • Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin)
  • Mike Ciaccio, Teamsters Joint Council 25
  • Madga Derisma, Illinois AFL-CIO
  • Tyler Diers, TechNet
  • Brian Durham, Illinois Community College Board
  • Julian Federle, United Airlines
  • Sylvia I. Garcia, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Delmar Gillus, Elevate
  • Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago)
  • Sarah Hartwick, Illinois Manufacturers' Association
  • Clark Kaericher, Illinois Chamber of Commerce
  • Michael D. Kleinik, Illinois Department of Labor
  • Andrea Kluger, Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Alec Laird, Illinois Retail Merchants Association
  • Ginger Ostro, Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Ai-Jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Kristin Richards, Illinois Department of Employment Security
  • Juan Salgado, City Colleges of Chicago

*Up to three additional appointees will be announced.


Economic Security for Illinois builds collective power to advance policy solutions that make Illinois' economy the most equitable and inclusive in the country.