At Civic Consulting Alliance, you will tackle the most important and challenging issues facing our region. You will be involved in large-scale efforts that make a lasting improvement for our region – meaning better schools, safer streets, access to healthcare and an economy that works for everyone.
Along the way, you will discover the power of collaboration to get big things done. You will work with some of the most talented and respected leaders from governments, corporations, foundations and nonprofits. You will find mentors and a support structure that provides you the tools to help reach your full potential.
We work across all types of urban policy issues. If you’re interested in a government or public sector career, the exposure that you get in this office is unparalleled.
Associate, Former Analyst, Civic Consulting Alliance
You have a chance to fix broken systems. Our work gets down to the heart of what’s broken, rather than using band-aids to temporarily address the problem.
Principal, Civic Consulting Alliance
Because of how closely we work with the public, private, and non-profit sectors, we have a unique lens into the different gears in the box – we are able to understand the civic landscape differently.
Associate, Former Summer Associate, Civic Consulting Alliance
You’re working on things that matter. There’s a lot at stake. It’s fast paced and it’s intellectually very challenging.
Former Analyst and Associate Civic Consulting Alliance
We set high expectations for our staff and give them big responsibilities. But with expectation and responsibility comes opportunity.
This is the kind of work where leaders grow. Because of our unique scope and access, we have become an incubator for new leaders throughout the region.
of our projects
Every project is different, but below are a few examples of past projects to give you a feel for the variety of work you may undertake at our firm.
Client: City of Chicago
Practice Area: Economic Growth
In 2014, George Lucas announced that he planned to create a museum of narrative art and storytelling, the first attraction of its kind in the world. In addition to housing Lucas's collection of American art, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (LMNA) aimed to create a new museum experience, exploring the interplay between education, storytelling and technology throughout history. The Lucas Museum promised to strengthen the cultural vitality of its home city, as well as boost the local economy.
With this opportunity in mind, when Mr. Lucas approached Chicago as a potential location for his new museum, it was an easy decision: the city wanted to be the home of the Lucas Museum. The vision set forth for the museum was bold, and the stakes for Chicago were high. To successfully win the museum for the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked Civic Consulting Alliance to manage a Task Force he charged with identifying the best site in Chicago. With pro bono support from four partners, we helped the task force to determine the best site for the museum – one that was accessible to all, maximized economic impact, was consistent with a new, iconic structure and required no taxpayer support.
Supported by Civic Consulting’s team of our CEO, a Principal, an Associate Principal and an Analyst, and with pro bono support from four partners, the Site Selection Task Force considered more than 50 potential sites, discussed comments from a public forum and website, reviewed input from more than 300 students and examined data from myriad sources. Alongside World Business Chicago, Civic Consulting also analyzed the potential economic impact of the LMNA. The result: $2 to 2.5 billion in positive impact during the first decade of the museum’s operation.
Ultimately, the task force produced a final report outlining its recommendations. After the release of the report, George Lucas officially announced Chicago as the LMNA’s home and the recommended site as the location of the museum.
Client: City of Chicago
Practice Area: Education
Across the City of Chicago, hundreds of organizations in both the public and private sectors serve young people, from toddlers to teenagers to college students. With so many different organizations involved, coordinating efforts and sharing best practices prove challenging, and young people end up bearing the weight of inefficiencies.
In 2013, the Mayor’s Office launched a major initiative to improve the odds that Chicago’s youth make successful transitions from "cradle to career." The initiative, called Thrive Chicago, aimed to improve outcomes for young people by synchronizing efforts across the City’s biggest service providers.
To accomplish this massive coordination, the Mayor’s Office tapped Civic Consulting Alliance. With support from pro bono lawyers from DLA Piper, Civic Consulting analyzed other cities that had launched similar collaborations and drafted legal agreements to launch the pilot. Meanwhile, pro bono consultants from McKinsey & Company and Deloitte LLP identified twelve central use cases to specify the data that were truly critical to share.
In addition to launching Thrive’s data pilot, Civic Consulting’s team of a Principal, an Associate, two Summer Associates, an Analyst and several pro bono fellows also supported each of Thrive’s five “Change Networks,” which each targeted a specific outcome in youth development. Over a year and a half, Civic Consulting’s team:
- Researched best practices and interviewed experts
- Helped Thrive set goals, determine metrics for measuring progress and plan strategically for three years into the future
- Determined how to engage Thrive’s stakeholders, launched Thrive’s website and developed Thrive’s annual report
- Recruited Thrive’s guiding Leadership Council and Board of Directors, found Thrive a host organization to house it and stood it up as its own nonprofit
From its origins as an initiative in the Mayor’s Office to its current status as a nonprofit, Civic Consulting Alliance supported Thrive Chicago in its work to help Chicago youth succeed from cradle to career.
Client: City of Chicago, Choose Chicago
Practice Area: Economic Growth
Upon entering office in 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel set an ambitious goal: bring 50 million tourists to Chicago by 2020. Such an effort would bring $14 to 15 billion to the city and create 35,000 jobs, all while enabling travelers from around the world to enjoy our vibrant city. While boosting tourism was an important strategy for the city’s economic growth, several challenges prevented Chicago from becoming a top destination: multiple, disparate agencies, with different missions, were in charge of attracting tourists to Chicago. The city’s tourism industry lacked an agreed on marketing plan and infrastructure, and neighborhoods were not engaged in the process. Chicago had tremendous potential to be a top destination for international tourists, but lacked the cache of New York City and Miami.
Building on previous work with pro bono partners Griffin Strategic Advisors and Jones Day, a team from the Boston Consulting Group and a Civic Consulting Principal, Associate Principal and pro bono fellow developed a plan for Chicago to re-organize and re-imagine tourism in the city. As part of the reorganization effort, Civic Consulting and BCG recommended the creation of a single tourism organization to take charge of all aspects of the visitor experience.
Today, that tourism organization is known as Choose Chicago and has been instrumental in bringing a record 50 million visitors to Chicago in 2014. Additionally, hotel occupancy reached a record high 87.2% occupancy rate during the summer of 2014. Because of such successes, Chicago has raised its initial goal to 55 million tourists by 2020.
Client: State of Illinois
Practice Area: Special Projects
In November 2014, residents of Illinois voted a new Governor into office. This change posed great opportunity: Where could improvements be made? Where should the new Governor focus his attention? What would Illinois look like under new administration?
Together with more than 40 consultants from eight partner firms, we helped answer these questions and bring the new Governor-elect up to speed before he took office. Our team of the CEO, a Principal, an Analyst and a pro bono fellow interviewed hundreds of experts, read more than 1,400 pages of policy memos, and reviewed 2,500 ideas submitted by the general public. While we had undertaken work to help transition newly-elected officials into office in the past, the gubernatorial transition was on a much larger scale than previous transition work. With the help of our partners, we managed 12 transition committees – with 28 Transition Co-Chairs, 44 Policy Co-Chairs, and 132 committee members – in just two months.
In January 2015, then Governor-elect Bruce Rauner's Transition Committee published its report for the new administration. The report contained a new vision for Illinois in each of the 12 policy areas; 46 critical strategies for each area; and 81 ideas that the new administration could act on in its first hundred days, to begin moving the state forward. In addition to the public report, our team and pro bono partners produced comprehensive on-boarding packets for 14 incoming agency heads, as well as a framework for the transformation of the state's IT and operational capabilities. The report and the successful transition was the product of remarkable collaboration between public and private sector leaders from across the state.
Client: Illinois Supreme Court, Cook County
Practice Area: Public Safety
Jail population is a barometer of criminal justice effectiveness and efficiency – if the process runs smoothly, the right people are penalized and are not detained longer than necessary. Cook County’s jail, one of the largest single-site county jails in the country, uses money bonds to hold individuals in pre-trail detention until their court appearances.
Nearly three-fourths of individuals awaiting trial Cook County jail have been arrested for non-violent crimes. Many could be safely released, but remain in detention because they can't afford to post bond. The human cost is high: While detainees wait for trial, they may lose their housing or jobs or be expelled from school. The cost to taxpayers is high, too: At $143 per inmate per day, Cook County Jail, the nation’s second largest single site jail, costs taxpayers over $300 million annually.
With pro bono support from A.T. Kearney and Mayer Brown, our team of a Principal, an Associate Principal, an Associate and an Analyst worked to make our region’s criminal justice system more efficient and just. The team researched best practices of bond courts across the country. They benchmarked the current state of Cook County’s pre-trial process, from arrest to the final bail decision. The team identified the specific processes, including the implementation of a data-driven risk assessment tool, that needed to be improved to achieve the goal of a model bond court. Finally, our team worked with the client to implement our recommendations in a timely and effective manner.
With our help, our clients launched the new risk assessment tool to decrease the number of non-violent offenders in jail while still maintaining public safety. The results have been significant: the jail population has reached a 24-year low, with a 20% reduction in the number of detainees in Cook County Jail, and personal recognizance bonds, which do not require the defendant to post money prior to release, accounted for 41 percent of all orders, the highest percent since January.
Client: Cook County Health and Hospitals System
Practice Area: Healthcare
Although the Affordable Care Act enabled millions of Americans to obtain health insurance for the first time, thousands of Cook County residents remain uninsured. Many of these residents face chronic health conditions such as asthma and diabetes that require long term treatment plans and continuous care. Conditions that could be treated by timely walk-in visits are often treated in emergency rooms at a high cost to patients, providers and, ultimately, taxpayers.
With the support of teams from the Boston Consulting Group and Sg2, a Civic Consulting Principal, Associate Principal, and a pro bono fellow developed a pilot program for Cook County to effectively deliver care to uninsured patients and serve as a national model for large metropolitan areas across the country. During the summer of 2013, the project team conducted a supply-demand analysis for healthcare services, researched local communities that would benefit from a pilot program and created a model to finance the pilot and reimburse hospitals.
After BCG and Sg2 laid the groundwork for the pilot, Civic Consulting worked with major regional health providers to design the uninsured pilot program. Under the leadership of former Abbot Laboratories executive and civic leader Ed Michael, the team created a plan for hospitals, federally qualified health centers and community health organizations to work together to develop a program for uninsured patients. In October 2013, the team convened area health providers for a summit to discuss the opportunities and challenges in making healthcare accessible to the uninsured population.