The Whole World is Still Watching

Social Protest 50 Years after the 1968 Democratic National Convention

On the night of August 28, 1968, thousands of young, primarily white, activists headed for the Democratic National Convention in downtown Chicago, intent on protesting the Vietnam War. Mayor Richard J. Daley dispatched an army of police officers and called upon the National Guard and U.S. Secret Service. Activists appealing for peace were greeted by nightsticks and tear gas, as were reporters and Eugene McCarthy convention delegates, as they tried to exercise their First Amendment rights. The debacle was televised and triggered outrage around the nation. The protestors chanted: “The Whole World is Watching.”

Fifty years later, the world is still watching. In the age of Black Lives Matter, Me-Too, Time’s Up and Families Belong Together, that iconic moment offers lessons and raises questions about war and peace; state-sanctioned violence; and police brutality. Who has the right to protest? Who decides? What is the role of social protest in the 21st Century? How have militarization, surveillance and technology changed protest?

On August 28, 2018, exactly 50 years later, UIC’s Great Cities Institute will host a provocative and urgent program exploring why “The Whole World is Still Watching.” Participants include organizers of the 1968 protests who will bring personal accounts, including reflections on the period leading up to that day. These and other panelists will discuss the personal and historical significance of these events. Key to the discussions are questions about the role of social protest in a civil society.


Revitalizing Manufacturing and Expanding Opportunities for Employment

We were delighted to see the Editorial in The Chicago Tribune on July 5, 2018 based on a June 7th report by the Great Cities Institute and The Century Foundation’s Rediscovering Government, entitled Revitalizing Manufacturing and Expanding Opportunities for Chicago’s Black and Latino Communities. This is a powerful report with an extensive amount of data and analyses of the state of manufacturing and employment in the Chicago region. The report also contains recommendations on how to match the need for workers in manufacturing with the needs for jobs in many Black and Latino communities. Manufacturing job training programs, particularly those oriented toward youth, such as Manufacturing Renaissance’s Manufacturing Connect, can help fill thousands of available manufacturing positions, while simultaneously reducing unemployment, stemming violence, and bringing more manufacturing businesses to the region.

The report asserts,

In this moment in Chicago’s economic history, there is an opportunity to revitalize the region’s recovering manufacturing sector with a more inclusive future. The sector faces critical challenges attracting a new generation of workers that can adapt to the advanced manufacturing workplace increasingly characterized by robotics and automation. The region also has high rates of joblessness among blacks and Latinos, particularly those living in highly segregated and disinvested neighborhoods. With a commitment to expand opportunities for education and job training, the manufacturing sector and these communities of color can simultaneously address their respective employment needs.

The Tribune Editorial also highlights key aspects of the report,

Yes, the steel mills are gone, but “The City That Works” is still “The City That Makes.” There’s something wrong with this picture, however. Last year in the Chicago area, there were two job openings for every hire, according to the study. At least 16,000 unfilled job openings involved work that required only a high school education. The jobs are there, but there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill them.

But guess what — the labor pool is there. In 2016, unemployment among African-Americans in Cook County stood at 15.5 percent, and 7.3 percent among Hispanics. The key, then, is to prepare those young people for jobs in manufacturing.

We remember what one youth told the Great Cities Institute for a youth joblessness report the group had published last year: “Everyone wants drugs and violence to stop. Well then … get us off the streets and get us into some work clothes, and you will see the change.” That’s a call to action that leaders in metropolitan Chicago should heed.

The Great Cities Institute/Century Foundation report, Revitalizing Manufacturing and Expanding Opportunities for Chicago’s Black and Latino Communities, co-authored by Teresa Córdova, Matthew D. Wilson and Andrew Stetner, was released at a Summit on June 7th, 2018 at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Local partners who joined us to sponsor the summit included Manufacturing Renaissance and the Chicago Federation of Labor. Key also in the organizing of the event was Brad Markel, Executive Director of the Industrial Union Council of the AFLCIO and Tom Croft, Executive Director of the Steel Valley Authority. Manufacturing employers, union leaders and workforce development professionals attended day-long event which also included remarks by State Treasurer, Michael Frerichs. The Summit, Inclusion and Industry 4.0, was the third in a series organized by High Wage America Campaign of the Century Foundation’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative directed by Jeff Madrick, who provided opening remarks at the Summit. “Industry 4.0 envisions a fourth industrial revolution that harnesses the power of technology and aims to place diverse communities at the heart of this transformation.”  Local news outlets covered the event.

In an opinion piece published on June 7, 2018 in Crain’s: Chicago Business, Córdova and Stetner, referring to the region’s “segregated economic recovery and history of unequal opportunity,” remind us of the long-term impacts of deindustrialization in the region noting that many communities in the Chicago region are still experiencing the negative effects.  “These communities stand to gain immensely from remedying the workforce mismatches plaguing Chicago’s manufacturing sector.” Reinvesting in education and job training programs is most certainly a key strategy for harnessing this opportunity as the region rekindles its manufacturing sector with clean industry and advanced technology.

Chicago Tribune Editorial: Wanted: Workforce for ‘The City That Makes Things’ »

Crain’s Chicago: Here’s who can fill Chicago’s manufacturing needs (Op-ed) »

Chicago Tribune: Is manufacturing the answer to the joblessness that plagues parts of Chicago? »

WBEZ (Chicago NPR) »

WBEZ (Chicago NPR) »

Chicago Tribune Editorial: “Wanted: Workforce for ‘The City That Makes Things'”

An employee performs quality control inspections of the liquid soaps that are produced and bottled at the Method Soap factory at 750 E. 111th in Chicago on March 25, 2015. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

A Chicago Tribune Board’s editorial on the need for manufacturing jobs in the Chicago region cites findings from a recent report from the Century Foundation and the UIC Great Cities Institute that examines the area’s manufacturing sector and the opportunity for businesses to employ members of the city’s black and Latino communities.

A stubborn stereotype of Chicago is that it doesn’t make things anymore. It does. Among economic sectors, manufacturing remains one of the Chicago region’s biggest employers, with a workforce of more than 363,000 in 2017. Between April 2017 and March 2018, manufacturing yielded more than 58,000 job postings, according to a new study by the Century Foundation and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute. That outpaced more than a dozen other sectors, including retail, transportation/warehousing and education.

Full Story from Chicago Tribune »

Will the nightmare that these children at the border face truly end?

Source: Getty Images

Dr. Stevan Weine, director of the UIC Center for Global Health, a partner of GCI, co-authored an opinion piece about the separation of children from migrant families at the Mexican border that appeared in The Hill. Weine and co-author Dr. Barry Sarvet, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate, outline several long-term psychological consequences of separation on children in the article.

While the abominable policy of separating young children from their parents and placing them in inhumane institutional conditions has for now been discontinued, a reported 2,300 children, including infants and toddlers, were forcibly separated from their parents.

They are confined in mass detention facilities with no clear plans for being returned to their families. The chaotic environment of a detention facility, developed in haste seemingly without humane conditions, adequately trained staff and appropriate programming, is a dangerous place for children. It’s a set-up for injury, neglect, and further traumatization on top of the hardship of their migrant journey and the unimaginable pain of being torn away from their parents.

All of these children have been put in cruel circumstances which can forever impact them, emotionally, developmentally, and medically. For the rest of their lives, these children may experience sudden episodes of emotional dysregulation triggered by experiences and sensations that remind them of their original traumatic experience.

Full Story from The Hill »

Here’s who can fill Chicago’s manufacturing needs

Photo by Crain’s file photo

Teresa Córdova, director of the Great Cities Institute at UIC, co-authored a Crain’s Chicago Business op-ed on the Chicago area’s manufacturing sector, its stabilization in recent years and the potential for future growth by creating pathways for unemployed Black and Latino young people. Cordova and Matt Wilson, an economic development planner at the institute, are two of three authors of The Century Foundation’s related report, “Revitalizing Manufacturing and Expanding Opportunities for Chicago’s Black and Latino Communities.”

Across the Chicago region, manufacturers are feeling better than they have in years. Orders are increasing, employment is growing and there’s an increasing recognition that the quality provided by local precision manufacturers is a better deal than offshoring production. But there’s one big hangup: Companies don’t have the workers they need to complete manufacturing’s renaissance.

A new report we co-authored, to be released this week, finds that nearly 1 in 3 workers in manufacturing in the metro area is over age 55. Although many companies have retained older, skilled workers, many more positions remain unfilled. Over the past year, there were 58,000 open manufacturing jobs, behind only health care, finance and professional services in need. In 2017, manufacturers posted two jobs for every person they hired.

Full Story from Crain’s Chicago Business »

Inclusion and Industry 4.0 Summit

Hear remarks from Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, other major regional leaders, and new research presented by The Century Foundation and the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) that examines the untapped potential of skills training programs and strong manufacturing jobs to expand economic opportunities for diverse communities.

Industry 4.0 envisions a fourth industrial revolution that harnesses the power of technology and aims to place diverse communities at the heart of this transformation.

To register, please click here.


Revitalizing Manufacturing and Expanding Opportunities for Chicago’s Black and Latino Communities

Teresa L. Córdova, Ph.D.
Matthew D. Wilson
Andrew Stettner, The Century Foundation


This report investigates a region—the Chicago metropolitan area and surrounding communities—where manufacturing was once the largest sector of the economy. The processes of economic restructuring that began in the late 1970s resulted in deindustrialization that left behind massive numbers of jobless residents and disinvested neighborhoods that continue to display the legacy of decline. In the aftermath, populations that once had a high concentration of their workforce in manufacturing have found themselves in a changing economy where most occupations are becoming increasingly technical and require high levels of education or training.

But after its long period of job loss across the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, the manufacturing sector has in recent years shown stability and potential for growth and reemergence. With that growth and potential in mind, this report explores manufacturing’s significance in the Chicago region and the sector’s potential to meet the needs of the jobless, in particular jobless black and Latino young people who have not received any post-high school education. Underpinning this analysis is the belief that Chicago’s disinvested communities deserve access to quality jobs with good wages, and that the manufacturing sector, through inclusion, has the potential to provide avenues to promote those goals.

This report is in partnership with the Great Cities Institute and The Century Foundation’s Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

Full Text (PDF) »