Robert E. Wordlaw

As the leader of this nationally recognized workforce policy organization, Bob brokered relationships between national, state, and local advocacy groups, governmental agencies, and private foundations to advance CJC’s mission of expanding employment and career advancement opportunities for people in poverty.  Bob retired as the Executive Director of CJC in December of 2015

Bob has served on  the Illinois Department Commerce and  Economic Opportunity’s Urban Weatherization Initiative Board of Directors, the former Governor’s Transition Team’s Labor Committee that developed recommendations regarding job training, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation and minimum wage. Bob’s leadership helped establish national and state coalitions including: the Washington D.C.-based National Skills Coalition, of which he was a founding member of the Board of Directors, and locally helped found the State Agenda for Community and Economic Development (SACED), an Illinois coalition that successfully advocated for the creation of Illinois’ Job Training and Economic Development (JTED) grant program. In addition to serving on the governing boards of several community-based organizations, Bob was a member of the TIF Works Advisory Committee; the Social Service Advisory Committee of the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Workforce Development and Diversity subcommittee of the 2016 Olympic Outreach and Advisory Committee and the Chicago Cook Workforce Development Partnership Board of Directors.

Before joining CJC, Bob served 17 years as Executive Vice President of The Neighborhood Institute (TNI) where he successfully planned and administered employment preparation, skills training, and economic development programs aimed at moving people out of poverty. He integrated a carpentry training program with a City of Chicago Weatherization Program. The merger of these two efforts provided hands on training and real jobs for students and graduates of the program. Prior to TNI, he was Director of a west side office for the City of Chicago’s Department of Human Services and staff consultant for a Washington D.C.-based community development consulting firm, A.L. Nellum and Associates.   He received his bachelor’s degree from Goddard College (Plainfield, VT) 1978 and in 1995 completed a one-year fellowship program at Roosevelt University.


Bob is a founding member of the African American Leadership and Policy Institute.