Chicago Coronavirus

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Releases Report From COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

The task force, which launched in April, is comprised of industry experts, community leaders and regional partners

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday released the recommendations from a group of experts and leaders tasked with aiding in the city's economic recovery plan.

Lightfoot said the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force compiled an advisory report with 17 recommendations "and four existing initiatives to advance a targeted set of outcomes for Chicago."

The task force, which launched in April, is comprised of industry experts, community leaders and regional partners all tasked with taiding the city's economic recovery planning and helping rebuild in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“I am deeply grateful for the hard work of the Recovery Task Force, and their commitment to doubling down on our mission of building a better Chicago that ends economic hardship, confronts racial inequities and unites all of the City’s residents,” Lightfoot said in a statement. "With their invaluable contributions we will transform the COVID-19 crisis into the once-in-a-generation opportunity that it presents to eliminate the deep, glaring chasms of inequity it has brought to the surface. While we don't know when this crisis will end, we do know that our recovery from it will not be reached with any short cuts or half measures."

Lightfoot co-chaired the effort with Samuel Skinner, a former White House Chief of Staff and U.S. Transportation Secretary who has served as a point person on several economic crises like Hurricane Hugo and the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.

Here's a look at their recommendations:

Outcome #1: Address new and old traumas

  • Create the most advanced healing-centered region in the country
  • Increase access to mental and emotional health resources and services in communities
  • Create a culturally sensitive, diverse mental health workforce

Outcome #2: Expand economic opportunity, quality employment, and financial security

  • Reimagine the region’s workforce infrastructure and create a plan to invest in displaced and young workers
  • Increase ownership and employment for Black and brown residents in the regions’ contracting and construction industries
  • Create the most vibrant small and medium-sized business and Black- and brown-owned business community in America
  • Expand relief programs and pilot innovative approaches to improve and strengthen the social safety net

Outcome #3: Build on our region’s strengths

  • Expand the region’s transportation, distribution and logistics sector by leveraging new trends in the localization of supply chains
  • Strengthen Chicago’s healthcare and life-sciences ecosystem
  • Build on the region’s assets in food and agriculture

Outcome #4: Capture opportunities created by COVID-19

  • Build on the region’s historic strength in manufacturing
  • Prepare the region to capture HQ2s and corporate development and specialty centers
  • Capture film and TV production opportunities given the lack of studio space in California

Outcome #5: Reignite activity throughout Chicago by sharing our story

  • Introduce Chicago’s master brand
  • Lead the re-imagination of regional tourism, travel, and hospitality
  • Develop new and existing community hubs to encourage tourism in neighborhoods
  • Show the world Chicago is open for business

The group also called for further investments in four initiatives, including INVEST South/West, Solutions Toward Ending Poverty, We Will Chicago and Chicago Connected.

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