Our Green LEEDers Transitional Jobs Program is an energy-wise social venture we are developing. This past year, our Green LEEDers crew worked on 11 home repair projects through the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Department’s Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS) program. In October, staff and volunteers in our LEEDers for Training program launched a successful “Weatherize Logan Square” campaign, promoting our Green LEEDers service for home improvements. As a result, Green LEEDers is bidding work for more than 20 interested homeowners, and will be making more SARFS repairs in 2012.
Reggie Hamilton, 36, became one of our star Green LEEDers after taking Local Economic and Employment Development Council’s Home Performance: Green Carpentry and Weatherization class last winter. As a carpenter, he wanted to get ahead of the curve by learning greener techniques. He learned how to install solar panels, helped build an energy efficient house, and worked on a total of 15 projects this year. His first and most time-consuming project involved repairing a ceiling that had collapsed due to a water leak saturating the insulation in the home’s attic. “Being on the team made me feel good about the job I was doing, because it was with seniors who were in need,” Reggie said.
Misty LeBlanc, 32, is a testament to how LEED Council is making a difference in people’s lives by providing them with skills to market themselves in this tough economy. She was one of our computer graduates who became the Green LEEDers Program Assistant in late July. When she came to us in January, Misty was receiving welfare, raising a twelve-month-old daughter and could not find a job. Her caseworker suggested she take LEED Council’s seven-week Computer Skills Training program. “When I came here I had absolutely no computer skills,” Misty said. The program was challenging; but she stayed committed, accomplishing her goal to learn Microsoft Office. Our staff also helped her learn how to manage her finances, interview for jobs and work in a professional setting. Now as a Green LEEDer, she sees other students from underprivileged communities go through the program and get jobs. “People will help you here if you want to help yourself,” she said. “I came a long way. And LEED Council came to me with open arms.”
Stay tuned for more news about LEED Council making the green jobs connection.
The North Halsted Street Bridge over the canal (Goose Island) opened on December 23, the same day the North Halstead Street bridge over the river, just south of Kendall College, closes. Chicago Department of Transportation is executing a four-month rehabilitation project that will replace the bascule bridge’s floor beams, roadway stingers, grating, lateral bracing and truss repairs.
The bridge was built in 1937 and has corroded from years of harsh winters and salt used to thaw the ice. According to CDOT, the corrosion was so bad they were grating was replaced once a month with plates. New additions to the bridge include bike lanes on the new sidewalks and new railing. The railing is made of cast steel and has the shape of a flower, matching railing on the other bridges over the river in downtown Chicago.
From now until April 30, 2012, traffic using the bridge will be rerouted.
- Trucks: Halstead Street south to Division Street, west on Division Street to Ashland Avenue, south on Ashland Avenue to Chicago Avenue, East on Chicago Avenue to Halstead Street.
- Busses and cars: Halstead Street south to Division Street, east on Division Street to Larrabee Street, south on Larrabee Street to Chicago Avenue, west on Chicago Avenue to Halsted Street.
- Trucks: Halsted Street north to Chicago Avenue, west on Chicago Avenue to Ashland Avenue, north on Ashland Avenue to Division Street, east on Division Street to Halsted Street.
- Buses and cars: Halsted Street north to Chicago Avenue, east on Chicago Avenue to Larrabee Street, north on Larrabee Street to Division Street, west on Division Street to Halstead Street.
These workshops are designed fro those who have the brawn and the grit needed to become a “scrapper,” but aren’t sure how to handle the logistical, organizational and financial aspects of setting up a profit-making recycling business.
They cover essential topics such as: getting a business license calculating start-up costs getting registered as a vendor with recycling facilities knowing which materials are most profitable to recycle (ferrous vs. non-ferrous metals, plastic, wood) and knowing the most efficient ways to collect recyclables how to forecast income, track expenses, manage cash flow, and maintain the records needed to file taxes
It’s a two-shot deal: Tuesday, December 20, and Wednesday, December 21. The workshops are scheduled from 1:00 to 2:30 on both days.
Walk-ins are discouraged.
Individuals with interest should contact: Ebony McLaurin, Client Services Coordinator, at 773-929-5552 ext. 228.
As always, thank you for your interest in our entrepreneurship development programs.
Associate Director of Workforce Development
Ald. Tom Tunney speaks with George Miller, of Sipi Metals, during an informal tour on Tuesday after meeting with the Chicago Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Economic Development.
Owners of businesses and industries were relieved to learn that the City of Chicago has no plans to alter permissible uses in the North Branch Industrial Corridor’s Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMDs). Andrew Mooney, Chicago Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Economic Development, attended a listening tour on December 6th with Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), chair of the City Council Economic Development Committee, to hear why LEED Council’s firms have chosen Chicago for their business and what frustrations they have experienced in operating in Chicago.
The meeting was hosted by Sipi Metals Corp. in the Elston Corridor PMD and included representatives of Concept Laboratories, WaterSaver Faucet, Goose Island Beer Company, General Iron, Howe Corporation, Bigane Paving Co. and C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
During the positive discussion, Mooney learned that a primary issue for firms continues to be the certainty of future uses in PMDs to assure land use compatibility as well as affordability for business expansion. “There’s no grand scheme for the area other than to maintain the PDM,” Mooney reassured. “The city is not looking for a new look,” Tunney said, adding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is interested in reinvesting so there’s more production and more employees in Chicago. He encouraged businesses owners to invite Emanuel to upcoming openings and events.
Attendees explained to Commissioner Mooney and the aldermen that they choose to stay in the corridor because they are invested in their facilities. “Our success is here, right here,” said General Iron owner Marilyn Labkon. Heavy industry companies, such as Bigane Paving Co., stay in Chicago because they are committed to providing “head of household” jobs for people who live locally; WaterSaver Faucet and C.H. Robinson are able to leverage their central location to recruit talent; and Goose Island Beer Company sees their location as key to their brand.
Attendees agreed that besides support from the city, there needs to be zoning enforcement to deter buying land for uses not permitted in the PMD (such as auto sales) and residential uses. Buyers sometimes purchase land in the corridor without knowing that they will be close to noisy trucks and vehicles.
“There are people in this area that give potential buyers false hope,” Waguespack said. He emphasized that zoning needs to be carefully crafted, and he never tells buyers there will be changes to the PMD when they purchase property. “Possible intrusion into PMDs can cause a lot of problems,” he said.
Other operating issues concerning the businesses include the lack of broadband and, most importantly, the poor infrastructure surrounding them. Marion Cameron, president of Sipi Metals, said the City needs to invest in better streets and sidewalks to improve vital transportation for businesses and make the area look good.
Tony Bowker, COO of Goose Island Beer Company, agrees. Transportation is valuable for his company’s expansion as well as to import and export products and materials. He hopes the brewery will eventually be able to invite people on site for tours, but the brewery is currently limited by space and lack of entry options.
Officials were in agreement that the City needed to promote its existing PMDs by further organizing economic development. Michael Jasso, the Department’s Managing DeputyCommissioner, shared that Chinese visitors always ask, “What’s Chicago’s industrial plan?”
After the tour, George Phillips, Sipi Metals’ Environmental and Regulatory
Officer, gave a tour of their facility and explaining the key role in the firm plays in recycling in a global economy.
$500,000 has been allocated to the North Branch (South) Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF). SBIF is designed to provide funding assistance for improvements to qualifying small businesses located in designated TIF districts across the city. The fund uses TIF revenues to help owners of commercial and industrial properties repair or remodel their facilities for their own business, or on behalf of tenants. Participants can receive 50% reimbursement for improvement costs, with a maximum of $150,000. Examples of eligible improvements include new windows, floors or roofing, truck pointing, HVAC equipment, and the purchasing of adjacent property for building expansion or parking.
To be eligible:
- Property must be within the North Branch (South) TIF district
- Have a maximum of 100 full-time employees (if industrial)
- Have a maximum of $1.5 million annual sales (if commercial)
- Other conditions apply
There is a public meeting on Thursday, December 8 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss this particular SBIF allocation, in the upstairs conference room of Concept Laboratories, 1400 W. Wabansia Ave. Chicago, IL.
After December 8, a 30-day open application period will begin. If there are more applicants than funding available, a lottery system will be used. Please forward any questions or concerns to email@example.com at the LEED Council.