I am committed to bringing economic growth and vitality to every corner of Chicago, and I have taken measures to increase opportunities and resources to help entrepreneurs to start their small businesses and support existing small business owners to grow their businesses. For example, we launched the Neighborhood Small Business Growth Strategy, the City’s first strategy designed for neighborhood small business growth, and I started the New Americans Small Business Series, quarterly events in neighborhoods across the city, such as the annual small business Expo for the Latino community, that provide technical advice on how to start a small business, navigate the licensing process, comply with tax laws, interact with chambers of commerce, and access capital. In addition, I have worked with companies like Gogo, Ford Motor Company, and Meade Electric to create quality jobs in the city, and I have created the conditions for technology start-ups and advanced manufacturing to grow and thrive. I will build upon these successes by connecting workers to available manufacturing jobs through the 1000 Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, and by growing Chicago’s current base of more than 60 incubators and co-working spaces by adding incubators in the neighborhoods.
As Alderman of one of the most diverse wards, I have experience integrating new businesses into the community. As Mayor, I will sit down with new businesses coming into the city and ensure they hire workers representative of the communities they serve. In addition to making sure Chicago has a robust workforce development system that trains residents for jobs of the future, it is imperative that the city maximizes the impact of development projects in our various neighborhoods. Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) are a vital tool to ensure projects are of maximum value-add to our local neighborhoods. Bob would like to mandate Community Benefits Agreements for all projects above a certain dollar amount. This ensures that community development is community driven and benefits not just developers, but the communities their projects inhabit. Latinos need access to programs that will enhance their abilities and allow them to acquire cutting edge skills, especially in the technology sector. BLUE1647 is an entrepreneurship and technology innovation center focused on professional development through classes and workshops, workforce development in technology and other high-value skills, which can serve as a model for use in other areas.
We have invested heavily in developing the downtown area and making it more attractive for the last 20 years. The prosperity of downtown is great, but we have left behind our neighborhoods, including Latino communities. Vibrant neighborhoods attract investment. That is why we need to ensure that all communities have safe streets, good schools and local retail options for shopping, as well as affordable housing opportunities. As Mayor, I will implement strategies to help small businesses operate more effectively and efficiently so they their workers can have a livable wage and their businesses can hire new workers. I will also work collaboratively with surrounding communities to fund our airports and other transportation modes, secure stable power sources, and strengthen communication lines. These are the necessary ingredients to continued economic growth and the job creation. Additionally, I would limit city incentives to businesses, including high-tech employers that are willing to hire local, and provide quality jobs with basic benefits.
My administration will expand STEM programs in all CPS schools. We will develop methods to grater interest girls in the pursuit of STEM anchored careers. We will make certain to involve an adequate percentage of Latino instructors and
counsellors. We will work to develop the capacity and market strength those local businesses which are focused upon technology. This will ensure jobs of all Chicago youth.
Job creation and economic development is my key issue. I believe in economic empowerment and stimulating the growth of communities through strong, new business opportunities. I want to ensure that city contracts benefit Chicago businesses and Chicagoans. The City of Chicago hands out contracts with a value of over $2 billion dollars of goods and services each and every year. I would like to see more minority-owned businesses awarded business. In addition, I would work to attract new businesses to the City of Chicago and place them in key areas of the city where economic growth is most needed.