When local residents and businesses thrive, everyone benefits.
Working in partnership with small business owners and workforce development organizations in our neighboring communities, the UChicago Local Initiative connects local residents with jobs and contracting opportunities, both here at the University and throughout our network of vendors.
UChicago Local creates new opportunities and opens doors.
Through our Buy Local program, the University of Chicago uses its buying power to create new opportunities for businesses. Each year, we spend more than $20 million on goods and services purchased from more than 300 community vendors.
To deepen our economic impact, we encourage our vendors to purchase from local suppliers, and a number of our key vendor contracts include aggressive local purchasing goals.
Supporting Local Business
Polsky Exchange: Our state-of-the-art business incubator and co-working space offers community memberships for $50/month, which includes access to mentoring, workshops, and a fabrication lab for prototyping new products. No UChicago connection is required.
Community Business Workshops: A monthly educational series, hosted at the Polsky Exchange, addressing the top concerns of local businesses.
Small Business Growth Program: Individually tailored consulting engagements led by Booth School of Business faculty, staffed by students, and supported by JPMorgan Chase through the Ascend 2020 program.
Together, the University and Medical Center employ more than 16,000 people, and one out of every three UChicago employees lives on the South Side.
Through UChicago Local, UChicago connects job seekers to employment opportunities across campus. We partner with workforce organizations to find local applicants for positions at the University, UChicago Medicine, and its vendor network.
We are also continually working to improve our efforts and connect South Side residents to employment opportunities at the University, the Medical Center and within the University’s vendor network. The University establishes strong local-hire goals in our vendor contracts, ensuring that community residents are first in line for good jobs across campus.
To help employees establish rewarding and successful careers, the University, UChicago Medicine and its vendor network are building pathways to higher-level positions for employees who excel at their current jobs and seek additional training and advanced skills.
Our Employer-Assisted Housing Program is designed to strengthen our connections to nearby neighborhoods while making it easier for our employees to establish homes near their workplace. We provide partial down payments to help full-time, benefits-eligible employees buy homes in the neighboring communities of Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn. The program also offers rental reimbursement to new renters in select areas.