Isaac came to Inspiration Corporation after serving almost 20 years in prison for a gang shooting. A graduate of Inspiration Corporation’s employment preparation training, he is now taking steps to become a role model in his community by speaking with students about choosing to stay out of gangs and away from violence. His new goal is, “to show people that you can make a mistake in your life and still enjoy life doing the right thing.”
All participants in The Employment Project enroll in employment preparation training, which provides a base of concepts and skills that is reinforced throughout a participant's journey to obtaining and retaining employment. Through The Employment Project, many participants seek to enter the workforce for the first time or after a decades-long absence from the workforce. The 60-hour, four-week course covers topics including self-esteem, anger management, communication, career planning, financial management and goal setting, while building job-search skills such as resume writing, employment networking and interviewing. During the first week of training, participants complete an assessment of their emotional skill sets; this tool is re-administered at the end of the class to gauge personal growth and the effectiveness of the training. Financial literacy training is also integrated into the curriculum.
Job Club builds upon the lessons learned during employment preparation training (interview skills, goal setting, etc.) and provides practical skills such as setting up an e-mail account, attaching a resume to an e-mail and posting a resume on a job board. The Resource Center offers access to computers, the Internet, a printer, fax machine, phone and a small library for all job seekers.
Business Services staff network with businesses to develop partnerships that move participants into the workplace and on to career advancement. Staff contacts businesses to explain the program, learn more about the employer's needs and determine the best way to partner with each business. Eager, work-ready, pre-screened applicants are then sent for interviews with the employer. If the employer hires program graduates, Inspiration Corporation offers ongoing support to both employer and participant to help ensure retention and identify training opportunities for participants to enhance their work skills.
To learn more about The Employment Project and to sign up to attend the four-week employment preparation training course, you must attend an open enrollment orientation at Inspiration Cafe, 4554 N. Broadway. We begin promptly at 9:30AM and the intake process is approximately three hours long. You must be 18 or older, a resident of the City of Chicago and willing and committed to seek and maintain a positive life style that will be supported through employment.
Career Connections links participants who are interested in further vocational training or education to programs at City Colleges of Chicago and other institutions. Inspiration Corporation helps participants to access public funds and provides limited scholarships and financial support for textbooks, entrance exams and the like. The initiative educates participants about career opportunities in high-growth fields and provides case management to help participants enroll and complete training.