From The President’s Desk: New Programs & Innovations

In Chamber surveys, talent acquisition and retention are often cited as the number-one priority for Chicago-region businesses. That’s why we’re infusing talent as a focus across all Chamber programs. Talent First is a multi-faceted initiative that aims to make Chicago a global hub for talent.

Following an investment from JPMorgan Chase, we are in the process of launching the Chicago Opportunity Exchange with our private and public sector partners.  The Chicago Opportunity Exchange is designed to create a more diverse, inclusive and efficient labor market throughout the Chicagoland region. Its sophisticated talent-matching platform will connect job seekers with employment opportunities, simplify the hiring process for businesses, and reduce unconscious bias in the recruiting process.

I’m also pleased to announce that the Chicagoland Chamber secured a line item in the state budget to help workers acquire new skills, and help companies fulfill their workforce needs. We look forward to working with Director Sean McCarthy and his team from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity to develop a program that puts talent first and helps companies meet the demands of the workplace of the future. For more information on our workforce initiatives, please contact Joey Mak, VP of Programs, at

The new initiatives of the Chicagoland Chamber will greatly enhance the value of Chamber membership. They were inspired by your input about how the Chamber can be an even better partner to you. I’m excited to be putting them into action and infusing the Chamber with new energy. 

Finally, I want to recognize the Special Olympics as it celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The Special Olympics started right here in Chicago, in 1968 at Soldier Field. Today, they’re in all 50 states and more than 175 countries, and they’ve had a profound impact on millions of families worldwide, including my own. It is something Chicago gave to the world and we should be proud. I ask our business community to support the 50th Anniversary celebration. Later, in this newsletter, there is information about how you can get involved.


Jack Lavin

President & CEO

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce