Fox River Valley Initiative Assembly on Housing and Mental Health

On October 20th the Fox River Valley Initiative hosted an assembly that focused on housing and mental health. FRVI is an expansion effort of DuPage United and the newest IAF organizations in Illinois. 200 people from 15 member institution attended. During the meeting the county Sheriff  committed to ongoing Crisis Intervention Team(CIT)  training. In November the Sheriff hosted 30 officers from throughout the county for CIT training. He is committed to do 2 more sessions in 2016. The organization is currently meeting with county board members to pressure the county to fund a county jail re-entry program for people with mental illness. The housing team is focused on organizing their base and site identification.

Willowbrook Community Walk

Another group of talented leaders from Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities gathered for our second community walk at the large low-income apartment complex in Willowbrook, Hinsdale Lake Terrace. 

We have effectively knocked on every door at the complex-- over 550-- and have had over 200 conversations. 

We have started building relationships and identifying talented leaders and have 3 areas of concern and interest to residents.

Action in Springfield

Regional leaders from DuPage United, Lake County United, Fox River Valley Initiative and United Power for Action and Justice in Cook County will met again with Rodger Heaton, the Director of Public Safety under Governor Rauner and Judge Steve Leifman on Wednesday, October 7th in Springfield along with representatives from our county governments. Mr. Heaton is tasked with reducing the state jail/prison population by 25% and is interested in relating to us, because of our compelling work on this issue. These conversations will potentially inform state policy on mental health and incarceration by year-end with Heaton’s recommendations to Governor Rauner.

Mental Health: A Visit to Rosecrance

From left to right: Rev. Chris Pierson, Director of connectional ministries for the northern Illinois United Methodist conference, Shawna Rohrman Assitant professor of sociology for north central college, Rev. Michael Solberg of the Union Church of Hinsdale, Dr. David Rinaldi former pediatrician, Robert Lundin- A mental health specialist at Dupage county health department from St. Marks Episcopal, Lois Walter retired social worker and drug counselor from Faith Lutheran Church

From left to right:
Rev. Chris Pierson, Director of connectional ministries for the northern Illinois United Methodist conference, Shawna Rohrman Assitant professor of sociology for north central college, Rev. Michael Solberg of the Union Church of Hinsdale, Dr. David Rinaldi former pediatrician, Robert Lundin- A mental health specialist at Dupage county health department from St. Marks Episcopal, Lois Walter retired social worker and drug counselor from Faith Lutheran Church

DuPage United leaders went to Rockford IL with key elected officials, hospital representatives, deputy sheriff, and others to see how a successful crisis intervention center is run. A crisis center is a more effective alternative to hospital emergency rooms for those with a mental illness crisis.

First DuPage United Manufacturers' Round Table

leaders from manufacturing, county and state officials, and educators gathered to hear directly from local manufacturers.  The manufacturers described the kind of trained workforce they need in order to expand their operations.
 
A presentation from a recruiting organization called Project Iowa (founded by a sister organization to DuPage United) provided ideas for further discussion of what could be done in DuPage County.  The roundtable participants decided to move ahead with plans to develop a local pilot project to recruit, assess, train, and place new people into the good manufacturing jobs that exist here and go unfilled. This led to the announcement of the formation of the Metro West Manufacturing Workforce

Workforce Development Stakeholders Join Forces

DuPage United composed a letter to the nearly 400 skilled manufacturers in DuPage County. It contained a summary of manufacturing workforce problems and asked for manufacturers' help in shaping a solution. Our letter was signed by Mr. Dan Cronin, Chairman of the DuPage County Board, Mr. Greg Bedalov, President and CEO of Choose DuPage, Dr. Darlene Ruscitti, Superintendent of the Regional Office of Education, Dr. Robert Breuder, President of the College of DuPage as well as DuPage United. DuPage United also met with many individuals and groups in the manufacturing business. Our purpose was to encourage all stakeholders to finance and form a new, not-for-profit organization that would do the hard work of recruiting, assessing, training, and placing unemployed and underemployed people into good-paying jobs in skilled manufacturing.