Cornelius Macon

The first thing that Cornelius Macon wanted to do when he got out of prison in April 2013 was see his sons. “I was upset with myself more than anything that I got myself in this position. I messed up my family and took myself out of my kids’ lives.”

The next thing that Cornelius Macon did was see his parole officer, who told Cornelius about the North Lawndale Employment Network’s U-Turn Permitted program.  Cornelius said of his June 2013 cohort, “The class was good people. We learned from each person. They didn’t want to see anybody fail – they wanted to see everyone succeed.  We all became one unit and we really worked.“

Cornelius, 35, a native of Chicago’s West Side, was hired by Mariano’s on Halsted Street, and celebrated his two-year employment anniversary on February 7. Following several promotions, Cornelius now manages the frozen foods section of the grocery store, responsible for keeping the department well-stocked and clean. With a set schedule, Cornelius works weekdays, and enjoys his weekends off spending time with his boys, playing football and watching movies.  “I share my past and what I did.  I talk with them about what they want to do in life,” said Cornelius.  Cornelius also talks about the U-Turn Permitted program to people in his neighborhood, telling them “The best thing about UTP is they actually work with you.  If you want to try to work, they will help you. If they see you have a need, they will help you.”

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