FY 2016










City-County collaboration accelerates neighborhood economic growth
Five years after the Great Recession, too many neighborhoods still suffer from double-digit unemployment. While these neighborhoods have significant assets that could be used to spur regional economic growth, including land and human capital, new industrial investment has been lacking.
To attract industrial development to economically-challenged neighborhoods and create new jobs for residents, the City of Chicago and Cook County asked Civic Consulting Alliance to help create an "Industrial Growth Zones" program.

With the help of three pro bono partners ---  McKinsey & Company, Zeno Group, and CBRE ---  the team:
  • Interviewed stakeholders to identify barriers to site development;
  • Recommended program elements based on national best-practice research;
  • Developed an organizational model for the program;
  • Crafted a marketing and communication plan, to be executed in conjunction with World Business Chicago.
The resulting pilot aims to accelerate economic development in seven areas over the next three years. Thanks to this City-County collaboration, property owners and industrial businesses will experience better service and will be able to more easily invest in Chicago, bringing new jobs and economic vitality to neighborhoods across the region. 

For more information on this project, please contact Antonio Benecchi.

Driving transportation efficiency
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) strives to sustain a transportation system that enhances safety and improves the quality of life for all Illinois residents. To do so, IDOT often relies on outside consulting firms to provide architectural and engineering services. By late 2015, the backlog for reviewing contracts with architectural and engineering firms had reached nine months. These delays added greatly to project costs, not to mention the time that necessary improvements went unaddressed.

With pro bono support from Chamberlain, a subsidiary of The Duchossois Group, Civic Consulting Alliance trained IDOT staff in Lean process improvement methodologies to reduce cycle times and the backlog of contracts.

The IDOT team embraced the new Lean approach, tackling projects to improve document flow, standardize activities, and develop tracking reports to measure progress.

Since the start of this work, process cycle times and the backlog have both been reduced by 60%. Moreover, the lessons learned from these efforts are being applied to other processes across IDOT. As a result, IDOT is better equipped to deliver critical infrastructure projects and improve transportation for every Illinoisan.

"In very short time, Civic Consulting Alliance and Chamberlain helped us understand our consultant agreement process in a much deeper way and inspired the team to develop creative and lasting solutions," said IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. "Our staff is excited by the progress we've already made, and even more so to apply these techniques in other ways across IDOT."

Please click here to read more about the project. For more information on this project, please contact Brian Battle.

Treatment instead of jail time
Approximately 20% of those in the Cook County Jail have been arrested for non-violent offenses and require mental health services. Detaining  these individuals delays or interrupts much-needed treatment for the underlying causes of illness. In addition, unnecessary detainment increases the jail population and poses a significant cost to taxpayers.

A group of criminal justice stakeholders---  the Cook County Board President, Sheriff, Chicago Police Department, Chief Judge, State's Attorney, Public Defender, Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, and treatment providers Thresholds and TASC ---  wanted to reduce the detention of the mentally ill. The stakeholders asked the Cook County Public Defender to convene a working group with representatives from each of their organizations.

With support from the Civic Consulting Alliance, the working group researched best practices in releasing mentally ill individuals and identified one critical gap: insufficient verified information regarding detainees' mental health history. The working group then made recommendations for improving the processes to collect, verify, and present detainees' information to bond court judges. Many of these recommendations are already being implemented.

With better, more timely data, judges can now more confidently make decisions on whether to detain or release an individual for treatment at the bond hearing. Our hope is that the new processes will allow bond court judges to safely release up to 75% of individuals identified as having mental health treatment needs, reducing the cost and improving the quality of treatment received.

For more information on this project, please contact Andy Schwarm.

In other news...
  • Applications are now open for the Civic Leadership Academy's (CLA) 2017 cohort! Developed by the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement, in partnership with LISC Chicago and Civic Consulting Alliance, CLA is a leadership development program for high-performing government and non-profit leaders. If you or someone you know would be a strong candidate for the program, please click here for more information.
  • On August 4, Civic Consulting Alliance and The Brookings Institution hosted a forum on Economic Mobility and Opportunity Industries in Chicago with more than 40 public, private, and civic leaders from across the region. Brookings Vice President Amy Liu and researcher Chad Shearer presented their emerging findings on economic mobility in our region, and the group enthusiastically debated potential implications for Chicago. A copy of the presentation can be found here.
  • The deadline is quickly approaching to apply for the next ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Institute ---  a retreat for emerging leaders with disabilities. Through a multiple-day convening, the Leadership Institute is an immersive experience for participants. The deadline to apply is August 31. For details, application, and nomination forms, please visit ADA 25's website. 
Questions? Comments? Interested in writing a guest article? Please email Leslie Glotzer with any newsletter feedback.

Civic Consulting Alliance is an affiliate of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.

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