Creative Worker Resources

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Creative Worker Resources

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The mission of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is to enrich Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This is a listing of resources available locally and nationally to support creatives, from job boards to professional advancement programs to emergency funding.

If you have any questions about the resources listed below, or if you have additional resources you want to share, contact

We also encourage you to sign up for DCASE’s Opportunities Newsletter to receive monthly updates.


Professional Advancement & Networks

Employment Resources & Job Boards

Workforce Development & Asset Building Programs

Worker Protections and Labor Laws


  • Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL)

    • The Illinois Department of Labor protects and promotes the wages, welfare, working conditions, and safety of Illinois workers by enforcing State labor and employment laws, providing compliance assistance to employers, and increasing public awareness of workplace protections. 

Assistance Programs & Opportunities

  • Caregiving – City resources and programs for individuals caring for others

    • Childcare
      • Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), through the Children Services Division, manages Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, and youth programs throughout Chicago.
    • Elder Care
      • Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) Senior Services offer a variety of citywide programs to address the needs and interests of older Chicagoans and their caregivers.


  • Disabilities Resources – City services and programs for individuals with disabilities

    • Chicago Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)
      • The MOPD works to make Chicago a world-class accessible city on behalf of residents and visitors with disabilities. Its services and programs include a Career Center, Disability Resources Unit, Emergency Preparedness, Home Accessibility Modification program, Substance Use and Prevention, and Transportation and Parking.


  • Food Insecurity – resources for qualifying individuals and households to access nutrition assistance

    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
      • Emergency SNAP Benefits
        • Expedited/Emergency SNAP Benefits are benefits that are ready in 5 days or less from the date you apply.
      • Greater Chicago Food Depository
        • The Greater Chicago Food Depository (GFCD) can answer questions and connect Chicagoans to food and medical benefits. The GFCD also provides information and resources for how to find food pantries and food programs across Chicagoland.
        • Phone: 773-843-5416
    • Emergency Food Program (EFP)
      • The EFP provides food at no cost to help supplement the diets of low-income households. The EFP is a Federal program, administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
    • Women Infant Children (WIC)
      • WIC is a federal funded program implemented by the City of Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) that provides pregnant, breastfeeding, postpartum women, children, and infants with nutrition assistance.


  • Health Care – the following resources include pathways to acquire health insurance and resources available through the Chicago Department of Public Health, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay.

    • Chicago Health Dance Fund
      • Provides financial relief for preventative health care and critical medical needs for Chicago dance industry professionals.
    • Health Insurance
      • Health Insurance information, in the event that you lost your job.
      • Get Covered Illinois (GCI)
        • GCI is the official ACA Health Insurance Marketplace for the state of Illinois. There are Special Enrollment Periods, depending on an individual’s circumstances. Open enrollment for coverage in 2024 will begin on November 1, 2023.
      • Intro to Medicaid & Public Benefits
        • Recorded webinar from Lawyers for the Creative Arts and Legal Council for Health Justice about eligibility and how to access Medicaid, All Kids, SNAP, and more.
    • Clinical Services
      • Chicago Department of Public Health (CDHP)
        • CDPH provides a list of partner and specialty clinics and services available to Chicagoans.
      • Community Health Clinics
        • Community Health Clinics are neighborhood-based health care clinics that provide comprehensive primary and preventive care to everyone, regardless of a person’s ability to pay.


  • Mental Health Resources


  • Housing – rental and mortgage assistance


Law/Legal Resources

  • Lawyers for the Creative Arts

    • Lawyers for the Creative Arts (LCA) provides pro bono legal assistance to clients in all areas of art, culture, media, and entertainment, including the visual, literary, and performing arts. LCA Office Hours give individual artists and arts managers the ability to consult with an experienced attorney in a brief consultation.
    • Helpful Links
      • LCA also provides links to additional service providers on its website.
    • Office Hours
      • Sign up for a free 15-minute consultation via Zoom


  • Legal Aid Chicago

    • Legal Aid Chicago provides legal support on many issues. Learn more about areas of support here.
    • Phone: 312-341-1070




    • CARPLS provides consultation and support on issues including landlord-tenant; foreclosure; employment; education; consumer debt; personal injury; health care; among others.
    • Cook County Legal Hotline: 312-738-9200

Emergency Funds

  • 3Arts List of Emergency Resources Provides a listing of emergency resources and other funding/grant opportunities and resources."

  • The Malcolm Ewen Emergency Fund Policy Guidelines for Financial Assistance for Chicago’s Theatre Community

  • Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund), Free and confidential social service programs that addresses a wide array of challenges faced by people in performing arts and entertainment.

  • TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, providing temporary financial assistance for pregnant women and families with one or more dependent children. TANF provides financial assistance to help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical.

  • All Chicago Provides critical financial assistance to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness or another serious emergency.

  • Center for Cultural Innovation Google Doc with national Emergency Resources for Artists & Freelancers

Navigating Funding

DCASE Resources

  • Chicago Film Office – Visit DCASE’s Chicago Film Office Resource page to learn more about resources related to feature film, television series, commercials, documentary, and other forms of screen entertainment.

  • Chicago Public Art Program – Visit DCASE’s Public Art page to learn more about resources offered by the city.

  • Cultural Grants – Information about funding opportunities and resources for artists and arts organizations and cultural presenters/organizations.

  • Healing Arts Chicago – Free creative classes and workshops including movement, yoga, sound and body meditation, music, painting, poetry, writing, and storytelling.