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Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today released the advisory report compiled by the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, which was established in April to advise city government as recovery planning efforts were underway amidst COVID-19.

The Task Force was co-chaired by Mayor Lightfoot and former White House Chief of Staff Samuel Skinner and involved a group of more than 200 industry experts, regional government leaders, community-based partners, and policymakers.

Over the past ten weeks, the Task Force members assembled a change study and an advisory report to provide critical insights to help Mayor Lightfoot as her administration works to balance a robust health response with a strategic economic and social response that addresses the unique challenges presented by COVID-19 – many of which underscore the challenges the city faces in the form of structural inequities.

The Task Force developed a set of 17 recommendations and four existing initiatives to advance a targeted set of outcomes for Chicago.


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
While the implementation of several of the recommendations is already underway – and many others will be implemented in a phased approach over the next few years – the City’s COVID-19 recovery efforts will be grounded in the crucial work the Lightfoot administration has started to address the structural economic forces that put millions of Chicago residents in economic hardship prior to the pandemic.

Outcome #6: Accelerate investments to eliminate inequities
  • INVEST South/West
  • Solutions Toward Ending Poverty (STEP)
  • We Will Chicago / Citywide Plan
  • Chicago Connected

Please click here to download the full report (104 pages)


EXTRA CONTENT: Economic & Social Change Study

Uncovering the impact of COVID-19 on Chicago’s economic and social fabric to aid RTF recommendations across Committees


  • Ben Harris, Executive Director, Kellogg Public-Private Initiative at Northwestern University
  • Ai-Jen Poo, Co-Founder, National Domestic Worker’s Alliance

Please click here to download Recovery Task Force Change Study (62 pages)

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