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Talent Solutions Connector launches Nov. 2

Updated: Sep 7

The ultimate connector for Cook County employers seeking to create a diverse and inclusive workforce, Talent Solutions Connector already contains nearly 200 local services that help employers with their talent needs.


Dani Houchin sees Talent Solutions Connector as the solution to connecting Cook County employers to endless amounts of diverse and inclusive talent throughout the Chicago area.


“We know that this tool can be useful and we know there aren’t enough employers who know about it yet,” said Houchin, Executive Director and Managing Trustee of Chicago-based Origami Works Foundation. “We’re super excited about this, and this is just the beginning to spread this far and wide throughout Cook County.”


Talent Solutions Connector will debut Nov. 2 with an event featuring President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Toni Preckwinkle, and a panel of employers, Houchin said. The new tool is completely free for users and already contains nearly 200 free and subsidized services.


Employers can:

  • Browse and search free and subsidized programs for recruiting, training and retaining employees

  • Connect with program providers to explore customized solutions, as well as peer employers who have worked successfully with providers

  • Read testimonials to see what other employers say about their experiences using the services


Talent Solutions Connector is a searchable database of workforce services

“The Connector enhances the visibility of free and subsidized workforce services that are available to employers in Cook County,” Houchin said. “Many employers are facing challenges in recruiting talent, and there are free programs that are available to help. This directory has been built by employers for employers, and it can help solve their talent challenges.”

The new tool is completely free for users and already contains nearly 200 free and subsidized services.

Talent Solutions Connector, an online directory of free and subsidized programs that solve employer talent challenges while prioritizing diversity and inclusion, was developed through a partnership of the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, and Origami Works Foundation. The foundation launched in 2019 to help Chicagoland's most impoverished citizens overcome barriers to earning a living, while removing obstacles to employment and making opportunities more visible.


Origami Works Foundation works with community-based organizations, educational institutions, employers, and government agencies to identify opportunities to enable people to work; then it partners with appropriate organizations, and funds and often staffs and executes projects to meet mutual goals.


Houchin, a resident of Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, co-founded the foundation almost three years ago after several decades as a management consultant helping organizations large and small enhance the performance of their employees.

Dani Houchin, Executive Director, OWF

Houchin, a Fort Worth, Texas, native, was the first in her family to graduate from college. As a teenager, she had applied only to in-state schools until a fellow trumpet player in the all-region band told her that he was going to attend Princeton. Houchin decided to apply there as well, and after she was accepted, a local Princeton alumnus convinced her parents -- her father painted houses; her mother a factory worker and special education aide – that it would be the perfect fit.




At Princeton, Houchin spent part of her final year studying remotely in Baltimore, writing her senior thesis on workforce development at that city’s Human Development Institute. In the years that followed, she always felt a call to address workforce gaps, while helping employers create a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Houchin said she’s excited that the Talent Solutions Connector is the next vehicle to help connect the dots.

“It always struck me that it was a win-win situation because employers needed workers, workers needed employment, and bridging the gap makes Chicago a better place to live for everyone,” she said. Houchin said she’s excited that the Talent Solutions Connector is the next vehicle to help connect the dots.


“I think my experience has given me a special ability to empathize with people who haven’t had the experience or family support to take advantage of available opportunities,” Houchin said. “I truly believe in these programs to help people.”


For more information on Talent Solutions Connector, visit https://talentsolutionsconnector.net/

For more information on Origami Works Foundation, visit https://www.origamiworks.org/


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