CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago gets a $56 million dollar grant to enhance COVID-19 contact tracing efforts throughout the city.
Around 600 jobs are available, and a special emphasis is being placed on potential testers residing on Chicago’s South and West Sides, areas that are seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money is going to a collaborative effort through the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership), the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, NORC at the University of Chicago, Malcolm X College and Sinai Urban Health Institute. About 85% of the monies will go to community organizations working to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to get contact tracers in the community.
The tracers will earn $20 per hour, supervisors earning $24 per hour. The Chicago Department of Public Health requires applicant organizations meet the salary requirements. The jobs will also have full healthcare benefits.
“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,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “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.”
The grant will official form what’s called the COVID Contact Tracing Corps and the COVID Resource Coordination Hub. Those entities will be responsible for hiring 600 people to carry out contact tracing throughout the city.
“A robust and comprehensive contact tracing program is key to containing the spread of COVID-19 and further driving down the number of new cases,” said CDPH Commissioner, Allison Arwady, M.D. “We insisted that this program not only focus on communities most impacted by the virus but that The Partnership and its sub-delegates hire from these neighborhoods to build the contact tracing corps. In that way this will not only operationalize an important tool in the fight against COVID-19, but also create thriving wage jobs.”
Click here for more information on the work of contract tracers and how to apply.