Lightfoot, CDPH Announce $56M Grant To Boost Contact Tracing Efforts For COVID-19 Cases In Chicago

WBBM Newsradio
July 01, 2020 - 10:58 am
Contact Tracing

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health announced Tuesday the city has awarded a $56 million grant to Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership to carry out contact tracing services in Chicago, with an effort based in communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership is working in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, NORC at the University of Chicago, Malcolm X College – one of the City Colleges of Chicago – and Sinai Urban Health Institute.

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According to the Mayor's Office, these organizations will lead a health-equity based approach to further contain the spread of COVID-19, which will include disbursing 85 percent of the total grant funding to community organizations in areas of high economic hardship to train and certify a 600-person workforce that will support contact tracing. The 600 newly created jobs will be hired directly from the communities of high economic hardship that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

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"COVID-19’s outrageously disproportionate impact on Chicago's most vulnerable communities has demanded that we as a city step up and take swift action to support our fellow residents in need,” Mayor Lightfoot said, in a statement. “This exciting contact tracing initiative will not only significantly bolster our efforts to stay ahead of this terrible disease, but it will also create new jobs and opportunities for individuals to join in the fight against COVID-19, as well as develop invaluable skills for their own future careers in public health and patient care."

According to the Mayor, The Partnership was chosen by a panel of community and city experts from a field of almost two dozen applications. This grant will fund the creation of the COVID Contact Tracing Corps and the COVID Resource Coordination Hub, which together will hire 600 people to provide contact tracing services to all of Chicago. As part of the grant, The Partnership will be conducting a second competitive bidding process to award the majority of the funding to at least 30 community-based organizations that will recruit and hire the contact tracers and resource coordinators under this grant.

“In addition to suppressing the transmission of COVID-19, contact tracing can be a doorway to family-sustaining careers in the healthcare field,” said Karin Norington-Reaves, The Partnership’s Chief Executive Officer. “Along with our partners we look forward to not only impacting community health but also creating economic opportunity for African-American and Latinx residents most deeply affected by this pandemic.”

In an effort to provide equitable opportunities to neighborhood organizations, the Chicagoland Workforce Funders Alliance will be working with AMPT, a capacity-building provider for non-profits, to provide technical assistance to organizations applying for this second round grant. Community-based organizations that are interested in applying for this second-round grant can visit Chicago.gov/ContactTracing to sign up for one-on-one technical assistance for this application.