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President's Letter: D&I + A.I. = Talent Success

Published on Thursday, August 9, 2018
Member Spotlight on Target, Member & Partner News

From The President's Desk: D&I + A.I. = Talent Success

The strength of the Chicago economy is our workforce. More than anything else, it’s what attracts employers and investment to our community. To protect and grow this fundamental asset, the Chicagoland Chamber has made Talent a top priority. Talent acquisition, development and retention are a part of everything we do at the Chamber.

Here are some examples of what this looks like. Last Thursday, I took part in a panel, The Future of Leadership, hosted by our member Advanced Resources. The panel explored ways of reaching into untapped or underutilized sources of talent. Today, I am moderating a panel, Age of Agility, alongside executives from Chamber members Aon, McDonald’s and Walmart. We’re looking at the ways education must adapt to the needs of the economy of the future. And last week, the Chamber and Robert Morris University hosted a tremendously successful event for Emerging Leaders Chicago, the Chamber’s young professionals group aimed at talent development and retention, and growing community and business relationships.

A major initiative the Chicagoland Chamber and partners are launching is the Chicago Opportunity Exchange (COE). COE is a web-based tool that uses A.I. to find the precise talent each business is looking to hire. It also uses blind correlated matching technology that eliminates unconscious bias from the hiring process, enhancing diversity and inclusion. Initiatives utilizing the same technology have been launched through private/public partnerships in Texas, Minnesota, and Michigan. We’re now making it happen here. We encourage companies of all sizes to leverage the platform by posting their open positions on the COE. For more information, please have your human resources team contact the Chamber VP of Programs, Joey Mak, at this email.

The opportunity to increase diversity and inclusion was a big part of what attracted us specifically to the COE platform. D&I is key to optimizing our workforce and meeting each of our firm’s business needs. To find the best talent, we need to leverage the full talent pool. Talent fuels everything that makes Chicago great. We need to keep developing it in every part of our region and get everyone involved.

The Chamber will have more to announce on our talent development initiatives, including workforce and leadership development training, in the coming weeks. 


I announced the Chamber’s prioritization of talent acquisition, development and retention at our Annual Meeting in June. A two-minute highlight reel of the event, including Mayor Emanuel and Penny Pritzker, can be viewed here.


The Chicagoland Chamber has been leading the opposition to an extremely harmful proposal in the Chicago City Council, the so-called “Fair Workweek Ordinance.” This proposal would mandate to employers of 50 or more employees how to not only schedule their workers, but also how and when to hire new employees. At a time when we should encourage hiring new employees, this proposal would prevent that. It would also take away employees’ flexibility around their own schedules. We are encouraged by an editorial just published by the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, which clearly understands the negative effect this proposal would have on jobs, workers and businesses across Chicago. You can read the piece here. To contact your aldermen to share your opposition, please click here.

Jack Lavin
President & CEO
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce


Target is helping teachers fund learning opportunities outside the classroom. Applications are now open for this school year's Field Trip Grants. Teachers and schools are eligible to apply.


The Chamber is now offering sponsorship opportunities for our popular, recurring events: Business After Business, Breakfast Club, and Premier Luncheons. Put your brand, services and products in front of a targeted B2B audience via multiple platforms, including a speaking opportunity at each event. Contact Jan Kostner.
Email: jkostner@chicagolandchamber.org Phone: 312.494.6701



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Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce 
The Wrigley Building, 410 North Michigan Ave, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone: (312) 494 6700 

Categories: Chamber News