Job Success During Lockdown
AACF would like to congratulate Devon for his recent promotion and raise in his security position that he began this year. Even though growing up in Englewood in Chicago’s south side had its challenges for Devon - he describes the commonplace sound of gunshots, being shot at himself, and attending funerals regularly - he did well when he transferred from his local high school to an alternative school. He began working for UPS while in high school and continued after graduating. But after two years of near minimum wage and being given only part time hours as is customary for hourly employees at UPS he quit in search of better opportunities. And after trying out his hand at a variety of factories with no better pay or opportunities - a good friend told him about AACF’s Workforce Development Program - which Devon refers to as the Program.
Devon joined AACF’s Workforce Development Program at the beginning of last summer, shortly after his 20th birthday. After attending the program’s weeklong orientation he was told that he should already have his driver’s license (he did not have it at this point). Thus he was sent to driving school where he obtained his driver’s license. Later in the year he was sent to Securitas, the internationally-based security company, for job training. He began his training with the company in early January just as the COVID-19 pandemic was brewing in the US. He completed his training and was placed in a security position in a 20 floor building in South Loop right before lockdown occurred in mid-March.
Devon receives full medical, dental, and vision insurance through Securitas and loves his job working in the high rise in the South Loop. “You get to meet nice people,” says Devon about his work as a security guard in the apartment building, used mainly as a luxury AirBnB by its owners. He describes assisting people with remembering their door codes, as many of the people are visiting the city, as well as being instructed to spend some of his shift in the storage room as part of social distancing for the quarantine.
Devon now refers many of his friends to AACF, just as he was referred to the Program by a friend. He tells them: “If you are looking for a job, or just trying to stay out of trouble you should go there - if you need a job, or even if you need bus fare to get to that job - they’ll help you. There’s no excuse. It’s free help, you’re guaranteed. They’ll help you to find a job. You just have to go there and keep in contact with them.”
He describes the help he received at AACF beyond his driver’s license and a secure job, life skills such as money management and making important decisions. Unfortunately his mother passed away this past year. Devon his hoping to move out of his neighborhood, hopefully closer to his job or to a safe suburb. He knows AACF will be there for him for help, and he would like to thank AACF for taking the time to help him, for calling the people who helped him, and for sending him to them. Great job Devon on securing a good position with Securitas and for making it work for yourself - especially now, during the COVID-19 Pandemic!
Opportunities to Work During the Pandemic
Darnell came to AACF just a month ago in April when the country was in complete lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic. In need of work during an undoubtedly tough situation for everyone, with countless people laid off from work, or losing jobs entirely, he had heard of the Workforce Development Program offered by AACF from a good friend who had gone through the program and who is currently employed in a good job.
Darnell took the plunge and called the office from his home quarantine. After a few conversations over the phone and sending in his work history and high school diploma he was placed in a work internship at a Walgreens in the Bridgeport neighborhood near his home. Through the work internship he is gaining marketable customer service skills as well as the skills involved in working in a store - those considered essential services.
Darnell’s previous work history has included working in the package department of UPS/FedEx and temping at a meat packing factory. Both jobs involved a lot of heavy lifting, with limited breaks, near minimum wage, and only being given part time hours - very challenging to live on and near to none as far as opportunities for advancing.
Through the work internship program with AACF Darnell is paid a living wage. He has applied to the company Securitas, a lead given to him by friends who have gone through the Workforce Development Program at AACF and have been placed and employed at the security company. Many of them have risen to higher grounds with promotions and raises. As he anticipates hearing back from Securitas Darnell is not worried; he knows where to go for assistance in seeking either a job or another internship. He has referred friends to the program as well, paying forward the favor of the friend who told him about AACF’s Workforce Development Program - and who gave him encouragement to reach out, even during the roughest of times.