While many people are going back to in-person school and work, others face obstacles that can hold them back from meeting their goals in the next step of their journey. Inspiration Corporation helps people navigate these challenges with our Employment Navigator and Lori Jericho Memorial Scholarship Fund initiatives. Below you will find stories from some of the participants in these programs and the supporters who make this work possible.
One of our Housing Services participants, Beatrice, was referred to our Employment Navigator by her Case Manager. She had been out of work for a while and was ready to get back into the workforce. She worked with our Employment Navigator to refamiliarize herself with the job application process. The Navigator, “helped me fix my resume, helped introduce to me what a cover letter means.”
After landing a job in the food industry, Beatrice contracted COVID. Beatrice needed a negative test for her employer, but wasn’t able to by the deadline, which left her jobless again. While it was a setback, Beatrice still remained optimistic. “I get a little bit worried being out of work, but I know it’ll work out in the end.”
Beatrice recently applied and interviewed for a position and was hired on the spot! She was thrilled and immediately shared the news with the Employment Navigator. Beatrice’s story shows that not every journey is linear, but at Inspiration, we are ready to meet challenges as they arise. We support our participants even when their first plan does not work out and continue to help them find more opportunities, just like Beatrice.
Inspiration Corporation has led the way on some important innovations in Chicago that help job seekers experiencing homelessness meet their goals. We have provided leadership on Chicago’s Continuum of Care’s Employment Task Force for more than 8 years, and have conducted research with job seekers experiencing homelessness to learn more about their skills, experiences, and needs. We are also in the business of testing concepts, and brought on an Employment Navigator staff position in January of 2020.
This pilot has recently expanded across Chicago to include other agencies serving job seekers experiencing homelessness – connecting them to all the employment services in our region. The pilot is supported by public and private partners such as the Polk Bros Foundation who describes the potential impact of the pilot:
“Housing stability and employment success are interdependent…The goal is to ensure that people who are experiencing homelessness have the supports they need to get the jobs they want.”
Lori Jericho Memorial Education Fund
In the fall of 2021, there are 15 participants enrolled in the Lori Jericho Memorial Education Fund scholarship program at Inspiration Corporation. At a time when women and people of color are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and accompanying employment challenges, we are happy to help where we can. There are 9 women in the program working towards their futures, all 15 participants are all members of the Latinx and Black communities, and 13 are first-generation college students. Our staff work with these students to help ensure they thrive and succeed in their programs and find jobs after graduation.
“When program participants are motivated to pursue educational opportunities to improve their future, we do not want relatively small incremental expenses such as books and transportation to derail their effort and motivation. Our goal with the Lori Jericho Memorial Education Fund is to enable participants to reach their goals and build a better life for themselves and their families. When necessary, the Fund will also cover the cost of tuition and professional training.” – Jericho Family
Personal, economic, and global circumstances have forced many Chicagoans to change or adjust their career plans. As more job opportunities are becoming available, our programs are more important than ever. You can help us connect people with the resources they need to get started on the path towards achieving their career goals. Be part of our team and make a gift today!