July 9, 2020
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot this morning released a 104-page advisory report compiled by the city’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. The Task Force was co-chaired by the Mayor 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.
“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,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “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.”
The Task Force developed a set of 17 recommendations and four existing initiatives to advance a targeted set of outcomes for Chicago. The targeted outcomes include:
- Address new and old traumas;
- Expand economic opportunity, quality employment and financial security;
- Build on our region’s strengths;
- Capture opportunities created by COVID-19;
- Reignite activity throughout Chicago by sharing our story; and
- Accelerate investments to eliminate inequities – including INVEST South/West.
The report (pp. 50-51) calls for strengthening the city’s healthcare and life sciences ecosystem by:
- Expanding access to career opportunities and diversifying the workforce;
- Connecting and leveraging assets effectively (Convene the region’s universities, hospitals, companies, neighborhood-level institutions, VCs, etc. to increase collaboration and form partnerships to convert a greater share of research to business, invest in new infrastructure (e.g., wet-lab space) to strengthen ecosystem and become a life-sciences research capital, and problem-solve (e.g., more federal relief funds for hospitals));
- Making targeted investments to support research and development;
- Investing in neighborhoods; and
- Conducting targeted outreach to attract companies.