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NLEN's Statement on Chicago's 2023 Municipal Elections

North Lawndale Employment Network has been proud to partner with elected and appointed leaders at every level of government during our 23-year history.

On March 25th, our NLEN program graduate and beelove café barista Rodgerick Guilty and our President and CEO Brenda Palms shared the essential importance of equitable hiring initiatives and polices at the One Chicago for All Mayoral Candidate forum. Paul Vallas and Commissioner Brandon Johnson both committed to equity focused employment initiatives and reducing barriers to employment and economic opportunity—including for Chicagoans involved with the criminal legal system.

The people of Chicago have spoken at the ballot box, and Commissioner Brandon Johnson was elected as Chicago's next mayor on April 4th, 2023.

In heavily contested municipal runoff elections—which received extensive media coverage both locally and nationally, the fact that equitable opportunities for good, family sustaining jobs could be found on so many candidates platforms speak to the fact that all Chicagoans agree that Chicago is “the city that works” when it works for everyone.

We are also heartened by an overall increase in voter turnout during the municipal runoff election, which includes increases in Early Voting, Election Day voting, voting by mail, and an increase in youth voter turnout. Civic participation is a key indicator for community health and economic prosperity, and our wish is to see more voter participation in future elections. Our staff shared information on early voting, same-day voter registration, and nonpartisan voter resources with everyone who walked through our doors, just as we have for every election.

Our campus has hosted a wide variety of elected leaders to advance our shared mission of innovative employment initiatives for the North Lawndale community—and our collaboration with City Hall dates back to Richard M. Daley. We will continue to advance our mission and collaborate with City Hall with Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson and his administration and the new City Council and District Council representatives.

We are happy to continue sharing our mission and our innovative approach to workforce development and social enterprise with public officials and local officials, and share the best coffee and biscuits on the West Side. To learn more, reach out at

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