CHICAGO (CBS) — The city of Chicago about to go on a hiring spree.
CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov has more about the hundreds of new contact tracing jobs being offered.
The city is getting millions of dollars to hire 600 people to be contact tracers. Their job is to try to track down anyone a COVID-19 patient has had contact with.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said they will not only work to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but hopefully use their new skills, possibly to work in the health care industry.
“One of the most important weapons we have in this fight is contact tracing,” Lightfoot said.
And Mayor Lightfoot said Chicago now has 56 million more dollars to help do it. The money, from both the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health, will be given to 30 local organizations to lead the contact tracing effort.
That includes hiring 600 new contact tracers and supervisors from mostly economically challenged neighborhoods and areas hit hardest by COVID-19, including black and Latinx areas.
“The new folks that will be coming through this RFP, just with the timing of how it works, this RFP is for an overarching organization who will be working with 30-some delegates. We put August 1 as the first deadline,” said Doctor Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Dr. Arwady and the mayor said contact tracers will make $20 an hour, supervisors $24 an hour. No prior experience is required. And all who take part will be trained not only in the skills needed to contact trace, but the attitude as well.
“Really what you have to have is a passion,” Lightfoot said. “These contact tracers are going to be calling people with information that’s frightening and scary to them. So being a person who recognizes that and understands they have to treat the person on the other end of the phone with care and with dignity.”
The mayor said when hired and working, the new contact tracers will add to existing contact tracing efforts already underway in the city. The hope is that the first group is trained and working by August 1 and the second group by mid September.