Site Visits

On October 25, between 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. CT, conference attendees can join in program site visits to Bright Endeavors, Sweet Beginnings, or Chicago FarmWorks Urban Farm. Attendees must sign up for a program site visit when registering for the conference. Slots are limited and will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.  

The afternoon will kick off with a group lunch at Inspiration Kitchens in Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood. Inspiration Kitchens is a social enterprise restaurant that offers contemporary American cuisine prepared and served by students and graduates of their award-winning food service training program. Attendees will enjoy a great meal while learning how Inspiration Kitchen helps jobseekers facing barriers to employment gain the skills they need to succeed in work. Following lunch, attendees will head to their pre-selected program site. 

Transportation will be provided.    

Bright Endeavors

Location: 4015 West Carroll Avenue, Chicago, IL 60624

Bright Endeavors lights the way out of poverty for young moms who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness by teaching them to craft premium soy candles in a supportive, professional environment. Through their paid transitional jobs program, Bright Endeavors provides the guidance and job skills young moms need to secure quality employment and achieve a lifetime of personal success. Bright Endeavors is a social enterprise of New Moms, a holistic social service organization that is a subgrantee of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) program and a member of REDF’s national portfolio.

Location: 3726 West Flournoy Street, Chicago, IL 60624

Launched in 2004 with seed money from the Illinois Department of Corrections, Sweet Beginnings provides transitional jobs opportunities for residents of Chicago’s North Lawndale community who face significant barriers to employment, including people returning home from incarceration. Sweet Beginnings makes and sells an all-natural line of raw honey and honey-infused body care products, extracting their honey from an urban apiary in the heart of Chicago. Sweet Beginnings’ parent organization is the North Lawndale Employment Network, which aims to improve the earnings potential of North Lawndale residents.

This site visit is sponsored by Chicago Jobs Council. Thank you for your support.

Chicago FarmWorks  

Location: 407 North Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612

Viable employment and healthy food are human rights, not luxuries. Chicago FarmWorks fights two issues associated with poverty: unemployment and hunger/healthy food access. Utilizing a two acre farm in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood, Chicago FarmWorks distributes over 30,000 servings of produce each year at no cost to 1,400 persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. FarmWorks also helps more than 30 community residents overcome barriers to employment and find full-time, long-term jobs through FarmWorks’ transitional jobs program.  In addition to working on the farm, participants work at the Greater Chicago Food Depository warehouse, earning valuable experience in urban agriculture, warehousing, and logistics. Since 2013, 83 percent of graduates have transitioned to long-term employment with pay rates averaging $10 per hour even before this became Chicago’s minimum wage.