Category Archives: Uncategorized

Samuel Cole: Client of the Month

Samuel Cole is a natural salesman and entrepreneur and a self-described “total gentleman.” Since returning home from five years of incarceration last year, he has secured steady employment that will get him back to his passion of working in sales.

Samuel was born and raised in West Memphis, Arkansas, as the oldest of six kids. He graduated high school in 1987 and attended Le Moyne College. He moved to Chicago a couple of years later, where he was playing professional football at Dupage. However, the team didn’t pay unless you made it to the playoffs and he needed to find work.

He started working a sales job and turned out to be so good at it that people assumed he’d done the job before. He’s “always had a great personality when it comes to dealing with people . . . I’ve been told I have this radio voice, so talking to people has always been one of my passions.” For nearly the next two decades, he worked for G.O’s Innovators, a company that sold magazines and publications. That job “took me from east coast to west coast for 18 years.” He was their top salesman, at one point selling to over 300 people in a period of 3 months, and he rose to the position of General Manager of the company. After that, he figured he had all the skills he needed to make it on his own. So, in 2006, he started his own sales business: Destiny Sales, which he ran for seven years.

In 2012, he was arrested for mail fraud, which carried a sentence of five years, six months and ten days in federal prison. He was released on July 5, 2018. In August of 2018, he met someone who worked for NLEN. He says, “The rest is history . . . You guys were a blessing the minute that I got there.” His career coach, Tonona, was his “biggest influence . . . She stayed on me about doing the things I needed to do” and “was always there when I needed her.” The whole staff “always had words of advice and words of encouragement for me.”

Tonona recalls that Samuel was a “model client” who served as a role model for many other clients. He was “patient, polite, and complied with everything that was asked of him.” He completed U-Turn Permitted and then Moving Forward, earning his CDL-B permit test on the first try – the only one in his CDL class to do so. He now has his CDL-A permit as well and he is in training to drive tractor trailers.

Samuel found permanent employment at Homan Square as a porter. He also works at the Rudd Container Corporation as a forklift driver. He is deeply committed to both jobs. Tonona says that he was threatened in the street a few times on his way to work, but, “instead of quitting his job, he started leaving for work an extra hour and a half early and took a route that was out of his way. He did what he had to do to maintain employment. Because of his dedication, Sam was able to purchase a vehicle in December 2018.” He also worked with the financial team to improve his credit.

In his free time, he prays frequently, watches movies, and spends time with his two grandchildren–two baby boys, a 9-month-old and a 1-year-old. His long-term goal is to open another sales company and get back into business for himself. He wants to be able to employ a lot of people and “give people opportunities the same way they were given to me.”

Brian Ollie: Client of the Month

Brian Ollie graduated from UTP in January and now works with Lawndale Christian Legal Center as an outreach worker with READI. Through his work with UTP, the TDL-focused Academic Bridge program, and the Financial Opportunity Center, Brian has gained valuable professional and personal skills that have helped him pursue his calling to be a mentor for at-risk youth.

Brian is a native of North Lawndale. He was familiar with NLEN growing up, but never considered it for himself. He lived a fast life and left North Lawndale when he was about 20 years old. He didn’t permanently return until he was about 30, when he felt a call to move back. Upon his return, Brian got re-involved with his Pastor Phil Jackson and his old church community at the Lawndale Community Church and Firehouse Community Art Center. He began working there as a janitor, but he soon realized that what he really wanted was to be a mentor for youth. Brian started mentoring in 2012, spoke at various schools and churches, and eventually became head mentor at the Firehouse Community Arts Center. Brian also sought out trainings and experiences that would help him better serve youth: he became a certified peace circle keeper, successfully completed a Dr. King nonviolence course, and helped facilitate the Peace Warrior mural border project.

However, Brian still felt that he was running from his calling. After one of his mentees passed away, Brian was thrown into inner turmoil. Soon after this emotionally rough time, Brian was referred to NLEN by a city official. He met with a financial coach to discuss the opportunities that NLEN offered and ultimately decided to enroll in U-Turn Permitted. Brian joined the January 2018 cohort of UTP and participated in all aspects of the program, including financial counseling, mock interviews, and resume and professional introduction workshops. He also accessed other supportive services, including a referral to Cabrini Green Legal Aid, transportation assistance in getting his birth certificate, and financial assistance in obtaining work shoes. After graduation, Brian spent some time with his family—he now considers himself a dedicated family man. His wife, Ricquia, is also involved with NLEN and currently works at Sweet Beginnings!

In mid-April, Brian started his position as an outreach worker through READI for Lawndale Christian Legal Center and he looks forward to continuing this work. He aspires to one day run his own nonprofit home or center for at-risk youth ages 16-24, and he is already taking steps towards achieving this dream! He is actively working on building up his credit score and he plans to take his GED at the end of August.

While Brian once felt like he was running from his calling, he has now embraced and fully committed to his mission of inspiring at-risk youth to turn their lives around, a commitment that he was able to use NLEN’s resources to strengthen.

READI Chicago Senior Coach

Salary: $55,000/year

The Senior Coach will implement READI (Rapid Employment and Development Initiative) Chicago, a collaborative intervention on Chicago’s South and West Sides that will engage individuals at the highest risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence in an 18-month wage-subsidized transitional job (TJ) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program, followed by up to six months of follow-up case management and coaching support. The goals of READI Chicago are to: decrease shootings and homicides among those at highest risk of gun violence; create new opportunities for these same individuals to change their life trajectory and decrease their involvement with the criminal justice system; and help build an infrastructure at the community level to promote long-term safety and opportunity in Chicago’s most impoverished communities.

Senior Coaches are responsible for supervising, supporting, and inspiring transitional workers and adhering to all READI Chicago implementation requirements.

Responsibilities

  • Supervise and support coaches in their duties to include recruitment, hiring, training and orientation; and providing guidance and overseeing performance reviews
  • When necessary perform any and all duties performed by coaches to include case management, succession plans, and identifying support services
  • Organize and manage developmental activities:
  • Become trained as a lead facilitator for selected cognitive-behavioral curricula, and facilitate weekly cognitive-behavioral group sessions
  • Coordinate and schedule internal and external content providers and service providers such as asset building, child support assistance, record expungement, parenting, etc.
  • Develop and/or identify work-readiness curriculum, implement curriculum, and schedule and supervise weekly work-readiness coursework
  • Manage all necessary paperwork and reporting associated with orientation, case management activities, employer contacts, participant advancement, retention follow-up, and other programming activities

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field such as social work or psychology
  • Master’s degree and LCSW or LCPC
  • 1-2 years’ experience in a managerial role overseeing case management, counseling, and/or coaching functions in a social service setting, preferably with formerly incarcerated individuals, opportunity youth, or similarly at-risk populations

What we offer

PPO Medical Coverage Plan | Vision and Dental Options | 12 Paid Holidays | Paid Vacation, Sick, and PTO 403b Plan with company match

To Apply

Please email a cover letter and resume to info@nlen.org. When emailing, please place ‘Senior Coach’ on the subject line. The deadline to apply for this position is August 30, 2018.

READI Chicago Crew Manager

Salary: $45,000/year

The Crew Manager is responsible for supervising and coaching Crew Chiefs, managing day-to-day crew site logistics and operations (e.g., assigning new members to a crew, responding to worker absences and weather, managing tools and vehicles), and adhering to all READI Chicago implementation requirements.

READI (Rapid Employment and Development Initiative) Chicago is a collaborative intervention on Chicago’s South and West Sides that will engage individuals at the highest risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence in an 18-month wage-subsidized transitional job (TJ) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program, followed by up to six months of follow-up case management and coaching support. The goals of READI Chicago are to: decrease shootings and homicides among those at highest risk of gun violence; create new opportunities for these same individuals to change their life trajectory and decrease their involvement with the criminal justice system; and help build an infrastructure at the community level to promote long-term safety and opportunity in Chicago’s most impoverished communities.

Responsibilities

Supervise and support crew chiefs

  • Coach crew chiefs on their role in providing constructive supervision that facilitates skill development
  • Recruit, hire, and train qualified crew chiefs
  • Each week, meet with Crew Chiefs to verify work performed by crew members via paper or electronic time tracking systems and submit to and or verify accuracy before submitting to Heartland Alliance by the payroll deadline
  • When necessary, perform all duties performed by crew chiefs:
    • Supervise work crews at worksites and ensure work is adequately performed
    • Transport work crews and equipment to and from worksites
    • Provide guidance and feedback to workers regarding successful workplace behavior
    • Ensure worksite safety and security
    • Manage work crew logistics and operations

Qualifications

  • 1-2 years’ managerial experience directly supervising staff
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred
  • Business and project management experience preferred, especially in the fields of maintenance and landscaping
  • Strong computer, written and verbal communications skills

What we offer

PPO Medical Coverage Plan | Vision and Dental Options | 12 Paid Holidays | Paid Vacation, Sick, and PTO 403b Plan with company match

To Apply

Please email a cover letter and resume to info@nlen.org. When emailing, please place ‘Crew Manager’ on the subject line. The deadline to apply for this position is August 30, 2018.

READI Chicago Crew Chief

Salary: $35,000/year

The Crew Chiefs are responsible for supervising, supporting, and inspiring transitional workers and adhering to all READI Chicago implementation requirements. Crew Chiefs will be energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive – – team leaders who positively and productively support transitional workers.

READI (Rapid Employment and Development Initiative) Chicago is a collaborative intervention on Chicago’s South and West Sides that will engage individuals at the highest risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence in an 18-month wage-subsidized transitional job (TJ) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program, followed by up to six months of follow-up case management and coaching support. The goals of READI Chicago are to: decrease shootings and homicides among those at highest risk of gun violence; create new opportunities for these same individuals to change their life trajectory and decrease their involvement with the criminal justice system; and help build an infrastructure at the community level to promote long-term safety and opportunity in Chicago’s most impoverished communities.

Responsibilities

  • Supervise a work crew of 5-10 transitional workers in the performance of a variety of tasks, primarily outdoor work such as landscaping, clearing vacant lots, and cleaning sidewalks and alleys
  • Set team goals and ensure that work crews complete tasks and objectives to a high standard and in a timely fashion
  • Set individual goals, assign specific tasks to individual workers, and set expectations for their completion
  • Manage the transportation, distribution, maintenance, and storage of all equipment and tools associatedwith crew tasks
  • Ensure worker safety by monitoring worksites for hazardous conditions and monitoring workers forappropriate use of tools and materials
  • Respond to safety incidents and other relevant incidents according to policies and procedures
  • Safely drive transitional workers to and from work sites in company vehicle

Qualifications

  • Basic reading, writing, and math skills
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Basic computer skills i.e. can open and send an email with an attachment document
  • Excellent communication and time management skills
  • Some prior management experience preferred
  • Knowledge of building maintenance, landscaping, grounds keeping, and/or related trades
  • Individuals with criminal records and other lived experience are encouraged to apply

What we offer

PPO Medical Coverage Plan | Vision and Dental Options | 12 Paid Holidays | Paid Vacation, Sick, PTO, and 403b Plan with company match

To Apply: Please email a cover letter and resume to info@nlen.org. When emailing, please place ‘Crew Manager’ on the subject line. The deadline to apply for this position is August 30, 2018.