Chicago (12)


At the beginning of the CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One project, the transit agency set robust hiring and workforce goals to ensure that this transformational project – the largest capital investment project in CTA history – didn’t further contribute to the low numbers of Black individuals seeking and thriving in careers in construction. 

CTA has dedicated a team – CTA Diversity Programs – that works with various organizations to provide opportunities to small and diverse businesses. Since the beginning of the RPM project back in 2019, the CTA Diversity Programs team worked with RPM contractor Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team to develop Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and Diverse Business Enterprise (DBE) goals specifically for contractors working on RPM Phase One, as well as robust workforce goals to ensure that Chicago’s communities benefit from this historic investment. To date, DBE goals are being met, exceeding the percentage goal of 20% and $314M awarded in DBE contracts. Furthermore, the 19.6% minority workforce goal has been dramatically exceeded with 52.7% of the hired workforce identifying as a minority and $47.4M paid in wages among those laborers. 

  • Adrian Mobley, an Englewood native, is the owner of Air & Wellness Safety Training, an MBE-, WBE- and DBE-certified health and safety consulting firm based on Chicago’s South Side. Through RPM’s diversity efforts, Adrian received financial guidance and resources, leading her to bid on and be awarded flagging services on the project. Since her contract began, she has hired more than 25 full-time employees and is growing the business to one day pass down to her daughters, who also work on the RPM project. 
  • Pierre Starks, a Chicago native, is a Local 1 Union iron worker who went from apprentice to journeyman while working on RPM. Since working on the project, Pierre has been able to save money to buy a home for his family that has a backyard for his two sons.

To learn more about CTA’s diversity efforts, please visit

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UnidosUS honors Latino community trailblazers


UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, honored five leaders and trailblazers tonight for creating meaningful change for the Latino community. UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía presented the awards during the gala marking the conclusion of the organization’s 2023 Annual Conference in Chicago.

“These honorees personify the tenacity and fortitude it takes to make meaningful and enduring strides toward equity,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía. “These are the people who reflect the true fabric of our country. The leaders committed to ensuring the Latino perspective is woven into all parts of our society, whether it’s the media, community development, or activism.” READ MORE AT UNIDOSUS

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Barnes & Thornburg has added Martín Montes as a partner in the firm’s Chicago office, where he will serve as group lead in Chicago for the Government Services and Finance Department.

Montes joins Barnes & Thornburg following a decade of legal and business experience at Exelon and served in executive leadership roles at ComEd, where he managed regulatory strategies and large customer business operations. He also spent nine years as associate general counsel at Walmart, where he developed and executed global legal strategy across Walmart’s international retail markets. At the firm, Montes will focus his practice on representing clients in the energy, utility, healthcare, education, and retail sectors in a variety of issues before the executive and legislative branches in Illinois. READ MORE

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The Chicago Film Office, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) developed a 8-week hands-on skill-based program in partnership with local production, costumes, and camera industry unions and post-production.

The 25 students selected to participate have begun attending virtual and onsite instruction. Each participant is developing specific skill sets in production, editing, accounting, hair/make-up, costumes, grip, lighting, camera and many more industry pathways. A few students have also had the opportunity to work on the set of local productions, shadowing working professionals. One of those students is Jane Georges. A resident artist of the Chicago Art Department in Pilsen. Jane is a student in our set decorator pathway. She receives regular instruction at Big City Sets onsite at MK Studios provided by I.A.T.S.E. Local 476 - Chicago Studio Mechanics union trainers. Jim Hartnett Jr. 476 Training Coordinator says, "The students participating in the ChicagoMade program are displaying a strong desire to learn and work in our industry, and the instructors have all made mention of their positive attitudes and willingness to learn."

Brianna Cokley and Jubril Adeagbo are also ChicagoMade students who have participated in an onset production utilizing their new camera skills during pre-production on a new episodic series from FX. Brianna and Jubril also contributed to the preparation and shooting of a TV commercial. Over the last four weeks both students attended on-site classes at equipment rental houses - Keslow Camera and Panavision Chicago, instructed by International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600 trainers. Peter Kuttner, a Chicago-based Local 600 camera technician with over 45 years of feature and TV experience acts as a liaison between IATSE Local 600 and the ChicagoMade program. “ChicagoMade has been a longtime coming. As a lifelong Chicagoan, I am proud that my city sees the need to diversify our workforce in a very real way by paving a path to employment.”

As graduation approaches, students are preparing for upcoming internships and employment opportunities. The Chicago Film Office is coordinating partnerships with independent filmmakers as well as big budget studio productions like Netflix, NBC, and Disney starting this Spring.

The ChicagoMade program is managed by XD Technology Industry. A 10 year old latino owned MBE firm that has been responsible for delivering innovative workforce development solutions in the form of sustainable skill-based programs. Aimed at servicing the economic development needs of local residents throughout Chicago’s under-resourced neighborhoods. XD Tech CEO Xavier Hernandez states “Our goal is to transform this region's TV and Film industry into one of America’s most competitive sectors by 2025.” For more information and partnership connections please visit

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Chicago’s Black population is at its lowest point in more than 60 years, according to 2020 census data released Thursday. While the pace of Black population loss slowed over the past decade, the number of Chicago’s Black residents dipped to about 788,000 in 2020, according to the census data. That’s the lowest it’s been since before 1960. Latinos are now the city’s second-largest racial or ethnic group, growing by 5% — from roughly 779,000 in 2010 to nearly 820,000 in 2020. READ MORE AT WBEZ

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Job Position

Hi Dear All

I'm Marcio Dupont,  industrial designer with a Mexican-Brazilian citizenship.

I'm in Chicago for a couple of months and looking for a permanent job position in the field of design as designer - sustainable design expert  and / or academic. 

Please visit my linkedin at: and let me know of any possible opportunity.


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Richard Montañez, an executive responsible for Multicultural Sales & Community Activation, will headline the Corporate and Community Awards Dinner at 7:30pm, Friday, February 15, at the 31st USHLI National Conference. The Awards Dinner will be held at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers.

Richard Montañez started his PepsiCo career at Frito-Lay in 1976 as a janitor in its Rancho Cucamonga plant. He is recognized as the creator of the Flaming hot line of products including Flaming Hot Cheetos, which influenced future ethnic products and the first Frito-Lay Hispanic marketing team. In 1990 Richard helped write and launch the Continuous Improvement Initiative. He was instrumental in creating the first operation cost improvement team. In addition, Richard helped influence Hispanic products and marketing promotions for KFC and Taco Bell.

Richard Montañez is known for his visionary leadership and ability to develop new systems and products, and sits on numerous non-profit boards. In making the announcement, USHLI President Dr. Juan Andrade said, "Richard brought the house down last year so we just had to bring him back again this year, and we are very grateful that he accepted our invitation. Not only is Richard a successful and innovative executive, he is also a dynamic public speaker and very supportive of USHLI. I know he will motivate and inspire our participants, especially our youth."

Receiving awards at the dinner are Dolores Huerta, Dr. Jaime Regalado, Juan Cartagena, and David Diaz.

For more information about USHLI's national conference call 312.427.8683.

Join USHLI and HispanicPro for one of the most important nights of business networking in Chicago. Connect with top influential leaders in business, education, government & politics from the state of Illinois and across the country attending the United States Leadership Institute 31st National Conference. 


Thursday, February 14

5 pm – 8 pm

Enjoy an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, raffles, and entertainment. Admission $10. Proceeds will benefit the USHLI Scholarship Fund.


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New U.S. census figures herald a future where Spanish is more likely to be heard inside classrooms and everything from politics to fashion and food will be executed with a Latin flair.

After a steady increase of Latinos in the area due to births and immigration, one out of every three children under 5 in Cook County now come from a Latino ethnic background, according to the recently released data.

In Chicago, more than 40 percent of children younger than 5 are Latino. In more than 30 suburbs including Carpentersville and Franklin Park, more than half of preschool-age children are Latino. In a few communities such as Cicero and Melrose Park, more than 80 percent are Latino.

What that means for the area depends on how well local schools and other community institutions can absorb one of the country's fastest-growing Latino populations, experts said.

School districts that have seen dramatic increases of Latino students during the last decade have sought to keep up with the population surge through dual-language programs and workshops for parents and teachers.

"Our goal is not to teach children English, per se," said Carol Crum, who oversees early childhood education in School District 130 in south suburban Cook County, a district where more than half of the student population is Latino. "That can be controversial. But it's about us building a strong language foundation and a pre-academic readiness for our children whatever their home language is."

In parts of Chicago and suburban communities where Latino enclaves have formed, the demand for such services often exceeds the capacity to supply them, studies show.

That has particularly been the case with early childhood education programs, which in Latino neighborhoods have seen longer waitlists as more young Latino families try to enroll their children in preschool.

A partial consequence: About 35 percent of Latino 4-year-olds in Illinois are enrolled in preschool, compared with 66 percent of white children and 54 percent of African-American children, according to a University of California at Berkeley report published last fall. READ MORE

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The New Futuro Summit presented by Allstate is planned to be the largest one-day college-prep fair in the Midwest. Parents and students will learn how to prepare, apply and pay for college while avoiding the mistakes that may hurt their chances for success. The summit includes bilingual representatives from over 50 organizations, 30 bilingual workshops throughout the day with topics such as “Paying for College” by ISAC-College Illinois, “Your Roadmap to College” by New Futuro and “Navigating College” by University of Illinois at Chicago, plus a chance a to win $4,500 Allstate scholarship and much more.

Latino families (parents & students) - Over 6,000 attendees expected

New Futuro "Road to College" Workshop presented by Allstate

Saturday, November 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
11:00 a.m. - Live TV Town Hall broadcast with Univision
12:30 p.m. – Estimated time of arrival for Governor Pat Quinn – agenda still TBD
1:00 p.m. - “From the Barrio to the Board Room” - Robert Renteria, renowned author and Latino hero, will guide you to achieve your education and career dreams.
2:00 p.m. - Live Performances from Ballet Folklórico Revolución and Africaribe.
3:00 p.m. - “Plan to Win” - Marlene Gonzalez, expert life coach and Latina Hero, will help you use the power of education in your personal life plan to success.
4:15 p.m. - Co-founders Peter Wilkins and Marty Castro, among others, will be available for interviews with the press.
4:45 p.m. - Allstate Scholarship Award Presentation
5:00 p.m. - Headline Performance from Sones de México

All activities are FREE!
For more information, visit

UIC Forum (University of Illinois Chicago), 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, 60607

Ixta Gerard

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MacArthur, Boeing, Others Provide $500,000+ for New Business Model for Arts Organizations

CHICAGO—The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP), embarking upon its third decade as the world’s first year-round presenter of American tap dance and contemporary percussive arts, has announced the establishment of the Collaborative Space for Sustainable Development (CSSD—working title), which will serve as a shared, affordable and eventually self-sufficient education, rehearsal and administrative facility.

CHRP’s CSSD has secured financial support of more than $500,000 to date. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is providing $275,000 over four years toward the CSSD’s development and implementation. This crucial contribution follows lead support for program development from The Boeing Company, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Pamela Crutchfield and the Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development. Most recently, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation approved $120,000 of support, and the James S. Kemper Foundation and the Polk Bros. Foundation committed funding. Jenner & Block LLP and ProTen Realty Group are providing pro bono support.

CHRP’s mission and 21 years of program development are rooted in community organizing and collaborative action. “The gift from MacArthur, which may be the largest ever to an institution dedicated to American tap, is significant in a national and international context for the tap dance field,” commented CHRP Founder/Director Lane Alexander, who was appointed last week to Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s Arts and Culture transition team. “It demonstrates that the funding community has confidence in the singular value of this new initiative and is comfortable with a non-mainstream institution leading the way.”

About the Collaborative Space for Sustainable Development

CHRP’s CSSD will centralize and professionalize the administrative, rehearsal and education space needs of several resident companies, as well as numerous additional arts space users. The facility will maximize space, equipment and shared service use through a well-designed suite of facility and service options customized and economized for each participant.

CSSD will be managed as a CHRP program initially, with collaborating resident companies to include:

Jump Rhythm Jazz Project
Kalapriya, Center for Indian Performing Arts
Luna Negra Dance Theater
Ping Pong Productions, which facilitates collaborations between Chinese and international artists
River North Dance Chicago
CSSD is creating a physical space for smaller and mid-sized organizations to stabilize operations and pursue facility-centric program growth opportunities as resourcefully and cost-effectively as possible. CSSD will provide a long-term platform for stability and growth in several key areas by:

responding to the near-universal need among small and mid-sized dance and other arts organizations for professional administrative, rehearsal and education spaces as well as a desire to unify as many organizational functions as possible in a single location creating a venue that will allow arts organizations to develop and maximize earned income from tuition-based education programs while lessening reliance on subsidies
enabling longer-term program planning as well as enhancing the potential scope and impact of tuition-based education programs managing the facility, mitigating many users’ current space management burdens Initial funding has supported the hiring of respected arts administrator Suellen Burns as program director. CSSD has a lead space option in downtown Chicago and continues to pursue additional funding, which would facilitate a development timeline culminating in a grand opening in fall 2011.

Project background

The brainchild of CHRP Founder and Director Lane Alexander, CSSD grew from CHRP’s two-year strategic planning process, led by then-Board Chair Susan Oppenheimer (Ph.D., organizational development), which produced a plan for 2010–12 focusing on long-term opportunities for collaborative space and earned income development. In cultivating other prospective resident companies, CHRP found many groups that cited similar priorities, as well as the need to streamline operations and reduce overhead, as both fundamental challenges and untapped opportunities.

Most cultural institutions in the United States, regardless of size, have experienced declining ticket revenue while education programs have held steady or grown. The medium- to long-term trend may require cultural institutions to recalibrate the balance between performance and education, and CSSD will create a sustainable platform for that purpose. In studies funded by the Chicago Community Trust and the MacArthur Foundation, as well as from a market survey donated to CHRP by the Boston Consulting Group and CSSD’s more informal information-gathering, there was a strong desire for centralized space for meetings, performances and classes.

“We are proposing to alter the traditional business model by offering arts groups the opportunity to shift their reliance on earned revenue from ticket sales and contributed income to self-sustaining revenue via educational programming,” commented Alexander.

About CSSD Program Director Suellen Burns

Suellen Burns was program manager, then executive director, of Arts Bridge, the nation’s first business incubator for the arts, which doubled the number of groups it served during her eight years. Burns led Arts Bridge’s 1997 facility project, developing and securing a new home for its Incubator Program as anchor tenant in the Athenaeum Theatre Building, a multi-purpose arts complex. Burns’ experience also includes positions with Friends of the Chicago River, Suzuki-Orff School for Young Musicians and Guild Complex. She has lectured on organizational development and arts stabilization at dozens of local and national forums. She served as project leader, contributing author and contributing editor for Incubating the Arts, a book published by the National Business Incubation Association in 2000.
About Chicago Human Rhythm Project

Founded in 1990, Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) builds community by presenting American tap dance and contemporary percussive arts in world-class and innovative performance, education and community outreach programs. During the last 20 years, CHRP has produced multiple community-based collaborations including shared revenue programs, concerts and touring opportunities, including:
annual National Tap Dance Day concerts, featuring an array of tap and percussive dance artists a shared revenue program designed to assist Chicago’s budding tap community to build capacity through audience development, created in 2001


Thanks 4 Giving, another innovative shared revenue program launched in 2005 as part of its annual Global Rhythms concerts at the Harris Theater, through which CHRP has partnered with more than 100 Chicago-based nonprofits to raise funds for a wide variety of service agencies participation in the 5th Anniversary Beijing International Dance Festival, assembling 70 artists to represent the United States CHRP’s vision is to establish the first global center for American tap and percussive arts (The American Rhythm Center), which will create a complete ecosystem of education, performance, creation and community in a state-of-the-art facility uniting generations of diverse artists and the general public.
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places and understand how technology is affecting children and society.


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Rosa Rosales
National Hispanic Hero Award

8602358261?profile=originalRosa Rosales has dedicated more than 30 years of her career to empowering the Latino community. She co-founded the United Public Employee Association and worked as a Field Supervisor in the Neighborhood Anti-Crime Program and as a Field Supervisor and later as Regional Director of the National Association of Government Employees. Rosa served as Office Director of the Service Employees International Union and then founded and is the Director of the National Association of Public Employees, a San Antonio-based union. She held several positions of leadership as a member of LULAC before being elected National President. Rosa earned a B.A. degree in liberal arts from the University of Michigan.


Alex Nogales
Cesar E. Chavez Community Service Award

8602357676?profile=originalDuring his early years as a farm worker Alex began to see how Latinos were being mistreated and, when he had the opportunity, he made the decision to work on behalf of Latinos.  A media professional, he has fought for the civil rights and the inclusion of Latinos in radio, film, and television.  He has led boycotts against advertisers and petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to deny broadcast licenses to anyone who would use the airwaves to spread hate against Latinos or demonize immigrants.  Among many other causes Alex has led the fight against hate speech and has opened the doors for Latino professionals in all areas of media and entertainment.


Moctesuma Esparza
Henry L. (Hank) Lacayo Lifetime Achievement Award

8602358453?profile=originalMoctesuma Esparza is an award-winning producer, entertainment executive, and entrepreneur. A highly regarded professional, he has worked with stars such as Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez, Andy Garcia, Jimmy Smits, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Halle Berry. His films include Price of Glory, Selena, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, and The Milagro Beanfield War among others. A lifelong community activist, he has dedicated his career to creating more opportunities for emerging Latinos and transforming the images of Latinos in Hollywood. Among his many honors are an Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe nomination, an Emmy Award, a Clio Award, and a Cine Golden Eagle Award.



Mike Pizana
William C. (Willie) Velasquez Volunteer of the Year Award

8602358071?profile=originalMike Pizana is deeply committed to volunteer service and has held leadership positions in the LULAC Council in Whiting, IN, LULAC Council 313 in South Chicago (IL), the Board of the Lake County, Indiana Child Abuse Prevention Council, and the East Chicago (IN) Civic Little League. Mike is a graduate of Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, IN. After working for Congressman Pete Visclosky, he accepted his present position as Campus Safety Operations Supervisor at Roosevelt University. Mike has volunteered with USHLI for the last 10 years, so he is being honored as our Volunteer of the Year, not just for one year of service but for 10.

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