Supporting Illinois’ Efforts to Champion Equity within the Workforce System

Human resources representative leads a resume building class

Since 2021, AIR has supported the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board’s (IWIB) efforts to champion equity within the Illinois workforce system and ensure that all customers are on pathways to success. AIR served as the lead facilitator for the IWIB’s Equity Task Force in 2021 and 2022; this work culminated in a set of recommendations provided in a final report to the IWIB. In response to these recommendations, the IWIB created a permanent Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) committee.

If the Illinois workforce system is to succeed in supporting these jobseekers along pathways to prosperity, it must disrupt these cycles of generational poverty and discrimination through equitable service design and delivery.

- Excerpt from the Illinois IWIB Equity Taskforce Final Report

AIR leverages its workforce development, equity, technical assistance, and facilitation expertise to support the IWIB’s DEIA committee. The committee is currently focused on four activities:

  • Integrating an equity lens into Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) strategic planning, governance, policy, investment, program design, and service delivery activities overseen and informed by the IWIB.   
  • Building a culture of equity in the Illinois workforce system by communicating a vision and collaborating with state agencies and other partners to provide leaders and practitioners in the Illinois workforce system with a) the information, data, training, and skills they need to understand the DEIA issues and challenges within the workforce system and the Illinois economy, and b) the tools leaders and practitioners need to achieve equity in the workforce system.    
  • Transforming the role Illinois businesses play in creating equitable economic prosperity for workforce system customers.   
  • Creating transparency and enabling data-based decision-making by requesting and reviewing WIOA and other workforce data analysis, identifying disparities in services and outcomes, sharing analysis with partners, and identifying strategies to address them.