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IWERC complements DPI’s ambitions to improve education and training for in-demand tech jobs as well as conduct applied research.

IWERC sits at the center of both initiatives; it conducts research on early childhood, K-12, and postsecondary education, and examines the intersections of that research with job-readiness.

Modeled on other research-practice partnerships, like the Consortium on School Research at University of Chicago, IWERC’s agenda is driven by stakeholders across Illinois.

IWERC is working with state agencies, school districts, early childhood programs, colleges, workforce development initiatives, and other educational partners to research and solve critical issues.

Read IWERC’s Core Principles


Work with community partners across the state to research and co-construct solutions to the most pressing issues in the cradle-to-career, education-to-workforce pipeline.


Illinois education and workforce development organizations have reliable, relevant, actionable research on which to base decisions.


IWERC’s research addresses field-initiated questions from across the state.


IWERC’s approach to research prioritizes equity, forges collaboration with practitioners, and seeks to uncover and extend successful practices.


IWERC is generously supported by $4.3 million from philanthropists and foundations.

These funders have come together to build a sustainable research consortium for Illinois education and workforce issues.

Advisory Board

IWERC’s work is overseen by an esteemed advisory board of experts in policy, research, and practice.

John Q. Easton (Chair), UChicago Consortium on School Research

Jo Anderson, Consortium for Educational Change (CEC)

Judy Erwin, Kivvit

David Figlio, Northwestern University

Lula Ford, Former Member, Illinois State Board of Education

Chris Koch, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Jeff Mays, City of Quincy

Matt Muench,P33

Robin Steans, Advance Illinois

Jose Torres, IMSA

William Trent, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rebecca Vonderlack-Navarro, Latino Policy Forum