Bridge the Access Gap

We believe everyone should have equal access to jobs. Our model brings together local workforce organizations and global employers, resulting in connecting more job seekers in underinvested communities to opportunities. We are striving towards an equitable future, join us.



Our Mission & Vision


Our Mission

Empower local organizations to adapt the demand-driven model to create solutions for employers to get unemployed and underemployed job seekers back to work.


Our Vision

Build a network of partners and connected affiliate sites so the Skills Model is available to all employers focused on inclusive hiring and anyone searching for a job. 


Our North Star

To increase the economic mobility of underemployed and unemployed talent by connecting them to quality jobs through our deep partnerships and understanding of the hiring needs of our network of engaged employers. 

We Start with the Job

We've flipped the traditional workforce development model. The Skills Model is a jobs-first approach, working directly with companies to identify their hiring needs. Then we recruit diverse job seekers who are unemployed or underemployed and fit those open opportunities. The Skills Model is proven effective and efficient, and is utilized at all Skills Affiliate Sites.

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We drive inclusive hiring

Skills Affiliate Sites are focused on serving underinvested communities and our recruitment efforts—including strategic marketing and sourcing—connect applicants with jobs nearby with our dedicated employers.


We’re a part of the local community

Our Skills Affiliate Sites are established leaders in the local workforce community. With a footprint in the community we're serving, we understand the business and workforce landscape and know how to work with partners to achieve the impact our city needs.


We eliminate barriers

The jobs-first model is proven to expand talent pipelines by focusing on the needs of the business community, then connecting often overlooked individuals with the available, quality jobs they are qualified for. 


We are a network 

The power of our national network brings operational efficiencies, shared learnings and insights to our Skills Affiliate Sites in cities across the country to drive local change and increase impact. 

We Prove that Equity Works


A job is transformational. At scale, the power of a job can be measured through both economic and social impact. As we scale and growth the network of Skills Affiliate Sites, the impact will also grow exponentially, lifting up underserved populations across the country.


cumulative placements


employer partners


total wage impact

Our Locations

Our original site was founded in Chicago in 2012 and remains our headquarters today. We have since expanded with sites in Rhode Island and Phoenix. Over the next 10 years we plan to serve 25 sites, helping to grow and strengthen the opportunities we provide.

Join Our Team

Do you have a passion for workforce development and impacting the economic mobility of underserved communities? If you also value innovation, equity and integrity, we invite you to browse open positions at Skills and apply today.

Join Our Team


Oversight provided by the Skills for Chicagoland's Future Board of Directors


Dennis Berger

Former Chief Culture Officer


Heidi Capozzi

EVP, Global Chief People Officer

Formerly Discover Financial Services

Matt Johanson

Social Impact & ESG

HUB International

Mark Kendall

Executive Vice President

JKL Advisors LLC

Jeff Lackey

Founder & CEO


Joe Pomerenke



Keith Wyche

Vice President, Community Engagement & Support

CEO, Schreiber Philanthropy

Whitney Smith

EVP & Chief Strategy Officer


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Mark S. Hoplamazian

President and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Board Chair of Skills for Chicagoland's Future


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Jeff Lackey

Founder and CEO of JKL Advisors LLC

Board Chair of Skills for Rhode Island's Future


Bridget Altenburg

President & CEO

Mayra Alarcon

Vice President

Jason Smolka

Director, Site Replication

Lacee O'Brien

Sr. Manager, Development

Berkeley Gaither

Project Coordinator

Allie Brinskelle

Manager, Talent Acquisition Consulting

Torelen Winbush

Training & Development

Our Thought Partners

We could not do this work alone. Sharing our learnings with our thought partners is how we have been able to innovate and grow our impact. Additionally, as a data informed organization, we value having partners that shape our understanding of the workforce and labor markets.


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