Cook County Honored with Record 36 National Association of Counties Achievement Awards
Today the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved the resolution acknowledging Cook County’s 2022 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards. Cook County was honored with 36 awards that recognize innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.
“To see the recognition of so many essential programs and initiatives spearheaded by the County is truly an honor,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “This level of excellence doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I am grateful to all County employees for their dedication and collaboration in launching these critical programs for residents.”
The Cook County Office of the President won for its Equity Fund program which invests in specific ways to intentionally re-align government policies, practices and resource allocation to advance racial equity and ensure all Cook County residents can live healthy, prosperous lives. The recent expansion of United Way’s Neighborhood Network Initiative, as part of their $15 million investment in the Transforming Places Program, is the first project resulting from the Equity Fund’s recommendation to pursue place-based, community-driven and sustainable economic development. Over the next three years, the Neighborhood Network coalitions will develop and implement initiatives to improve the quality of life for residents that have faced systemic disinvestment in their communities.
The Bureau of Human Resources received an achievement award for its work positioning Cook County as an employer of choice. The nation’s unpredictable business climate and volatile job market placed increased pressure on government agencies to attract, develop and retain their workforce. In partnership with Deloitte, the County navigated a competitive talent marketplace by bolstering recruitment operations and positioning the County as a premier employer through innovative strategic sourcing, recruitment branding and marketing efforts.
The Cook County Bureau of Economic Development (BED) was recognized for the Manufacturing Reinvented program that helps manufacturers improve competitiveness as they continue to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. BED also led the Small Business Source program that received recognition. This program assists small businesses by providing no cost business advising, a library of resources, events, training and access to capital opportunities. The program has served approximately 8,200 businesses since its inception.
BED was also recognized for its Emergency Rental Assistance Program which coordinated with the state and city to address housing instability throughout the County. Program efforts include homeless services, crisis shelters, utility payments, debt relief counseling and eviction prevention. Subsequently, BED also established a unique court-based program that positions case managers in the courts to directly support eviction applicants. This initiative helped prevent nearly 4,000 evictions while creating a new model of support.
“The Bureau of Economic Development greatly appreciates this recognition for the quality and innovation of our programs designed to ensure the well-being of residents and the recovery of the local economy,” said BED Chief Xochitl Flores. “Investing in residents experiencing potential evictions and industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic represent the foundation of our work right now. Our work prioritizes supporting the resiliency of residents and businesses.”
Cook County Health (CCH) won an achievement award for its work providing health care to asylum seekers arriving in Chicago. With less than twenty-four hours’ notice, CCH established a Refugee Health Center that offered medical, dental, behavioral health, a pharmacy, transportation, care coordination and social services to asylum seekers. This center is still in operation and has provided health care to nearly 8,000 patients since it was launched.
“Cook County Health was founded on the mission of providing care to all – regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. Caring for asylum seekers is what we do,” Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha said. “I am incredibly proud of the work our team at Cook County Health has done to set up and run this clinic, which helps ensure that these men, women and children have access to compassionate and culturally competent care as they begin their new chapter in the U.S.”
Awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide.
The winning department/agency’s programs and categories are as follows:
Children and Youth
- Sheriff's Junior Sheriff Mentoring Program (Cook County Sheriff’s Office)
Civic Education and Public Information
- Just Housing Amendment Outreach Program (Human Rights and Ethics)
- Land Records Free Legal Help Desk (Cook County Clerk)
Community and Economic Development
- Automation of Building and Zoning Operations (Bureau of Economic Development)
- Cook County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (Bureau of Economic Development)
- Cook County Manufacturing Reinvented (Bureau of Economic Development)
- Equity Fund (Office of the President)
- PTAXSIM: a tool for policymakers to enact property tax reform based on data (Cook County Assessor’s Office)
- Small Business Source (Bureau of Economic Development)
County Administration and Management
- Nursing Business Operations & Finance Structure Development (Public Sector) (Cook County Health)
- Climate Goal Achievement (Bureau of Asset Management)
- Natural Gas Energy Savings (Bureau of Asset Management)
- STIC With It Energy Challenge for building engineers (Bureau of Asset Management)
Criminal Justice and Public Safety
- COVID-19 Attestation Management System (CAMS) (Clerk of the Circuit Court)
- Racial Equity Cohort Fellowship (Justice Advisory Council)
- Sheriff's Vehicle Light Replacement Program (Cook County Sheriff’s Office)
- Cook County Local Government Bridge Funding Program (Bureau of Finance)
- Department of Revenue Tax Discovery Process (Bureau of Finance)
- Furniture Cost Estimation Tool (Bureau of Asset Management)
- American Medical Association and CCH Blood Pressure Remote Monitoring (Cook County Health)
- Brighter Beginnings - CountyCare's Maternal and Child Health Program Cook County Health)
- COVID-19 Analytics Response (Cook County Health)
- Families in it Together (FIT) (Cook County Health)
- Food as Medicine (Cook County Health)
- Medical Examiner's Online Portal (Bureau of Administration)
- Un Puerto En La Tormenta: Health Care for Asylum Seekers in Chicago (Cook County Health)
- Enterprise-level Care Management Software for an Urban Health System (Cook County Health)
- Everyone Counts (Bureau of Technology)
- LINKJA - A Privacy-Preserving Record Linkage Software System (Cook County Health)
- Digital Equity Engagement (Bureau of Administration)
- Remote and Equitable Access to Court Hearings (REACH) (Bureau of Administration)
Personnel Management, Employment and Training
- Facilities Management Engineer Apprenticeship Training Program (Bureau of Asset Management)
- Forest Preserves of Cook County REDI Committee (Forest Preserves of Cook County)
- Positioning Cook County as an Employer of Choice (Bureau of Human Resources)
Risk and Emergency Management
- Data-driven, Community Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Building (Bureau of Administration)
- Sheriff's Meal Delivery Partnership (Cook County Sheriff’s Office)