Bethel Advanced Manufacturing Program Opportunity For New Life

  • May 14, 2013
  • The Examiner
  • Success Stories

    • poat3
    • Investing in Small Business

      Adolfo Vizcaino began his career working on air conditioning and heating systems, prescription ambulance and quickly grew to love the work.

      As his skills continued to increase, the longtime West Side resident knew he wanted to go even further with his career – he wanted his own company.

      “My dream was to be able to wake up in the morning and work for my own business,” he says
      Untitled-1
      Today, Vizcaino is the Owner and President of Thermal Electric, Inc., an air conditioning and heating company located in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood. The business has seven additional employees who reside in the community and a client base large enough to keep them all busy. As he has grown Thermal Electric, Inc., Bethel has been at his side, first with capacity-building support from our small business counselors, and second with a New Market Tax Credit loan. Unable to obtain traditional financing, Vizcaino used the loan to build a new landscaped parking lot for the business. This created much-needed storage space for vehicles and equipment, and helped the company operate more efficiently to increase profits. In addition, the landscaped lot transformed the physical appearance of the street corner where it is located.

      However, Vizcaino, who is passionate about the air conditioning and heating service fields, says the primary goal of his business is helping people.
      “This isn’t about the money. This is about being able to help my clients when they are too hot or too cold, just because their home equipment is not functioning. Seeing my customers smile when we fix their equipment is why I do what I do.”

      For years, Bethel has helped local businesses grow and create new jobs, even in a recession, thanks to its New Market Tax Credits. Through leveraging its investments, New Life Community Investments has made $9.9 M of investments on the West Side of Chicago since 2005.

    • post-4
    • Investing in Parents

      After growing up in foster care, Darlene Williams says she had no blueprint for how to be a good parent when she gave birth to her daughter Kayla.

      “If you never had love, how do you know how to show love?” says the home health care worker who is working on her Associates degree.Driven by her desire to be a good parent, Williams became involved at Bethel’s Right Start for Families program, where she gained not only encouragement, but parenting skills that gave her confidence. Throughout her participation at Bethel, she has gained skill in personal finance management, day-to-day home management, food preparation, and a variety of educational activities to do with her daughter.
      “Now, I do things like take Kayla to the zoo and museums whenever I can, and I cook,” says Williams. “I even have the confidence that one day I will be a homeowner.”However, she says the most important thing she learned at Bethel is the intangible art of parenting, and the importance of showing love to her daughter.

      “Being a parent is about loving and nurturing your child, not just about buying things,” she says.
      post-1

    • poat-4
    • From homeless to employed

      Alisa Richmond came to Bethel for the life skills she needed to learn. Her interviewing and resume skills landed her a landscape management job.

      When Alisa Richmond came to Bethel New Life looking for housing, she did not know that she would find a stable place to live, a job, and a group of people who still continue to support her.Bethel introduced Ms. Richmond to the Career Pipeline/Job Place Program where she learned interviewing skills, appropriate business dress, and how to write a resume. She then joined the Neighborhood Clean-Up program in December of 2009, which is a program that helps former offenders find and retain employment.post-2

      That led Ms. Richmond to a job as a supervisor at a landscaping company.

      Ms. Richmond says that Bethel has provided motivation and encouragement. “They were always there to guide me.” She says that even though she has completed the program, she knows Bethel is still there for her, even if she just wants to talk.

      The guidance Ms. Richmond has received from Bethel has made a big difference in her life. “They made me feel more positive about myself,” she said. “It has made me a better person today.”

    • post-5
    • Success in the landscaping business

      As a formerly incarcerated person, Earnest Roberts, Jr. knew that finding a job after serving time wouldn’t be easy.

      That’s why he decided to work for himself. He enrolled in Bethel’s program for entrepreneurs to pursue a dream of owning his own landscaping business.Mr. Roberts participated in Bethel’s financial education classes to prepare himself for the financial responsibility of managing his own business. He spent two years in landscape training at Chicago Christian Industrial League (CCIL). He also saved money to start his business.post-3

      Soon, Mr. Roberts founded Roberts Landscape and Snow Removal. He bought equipment and advertisement for the new business and is currently in the process of getting his minority license with the City of Chicago. He is also working on some local contracts in the Austin neighborhood.

      “Bethel’s program gave me hope,” Mr. Roberts said. “I want to give thanks to the people who took the time to help me and inspire me to help others.”

    • post-7
    • Living independently

      Rosie Turner has lived in a beautifully furnished apartment at Beth-Anne Residences since 2005 and has been an active member of the Bethel community for even longer.

      “I don’t know any place I would rather be.”Ms. Turner came to Bethel in 1985 when she got a job providing in-home care to seniors. Later, she was later promoted to supervisor. Now that she is retired, she volunteers with energy wherever she is needed.post-4

      “I enjoy being around people and being useful,” she said. Ms. Turner certainly is useful; she volunteers at her church, coordinates trips for seniors, and spends time with the seniors in Adult Day Health Care. She enjoys living in a beautiful apartment with friendly neighbors and staff.

      “I’ve never had a time of loneliness or sadness,” she said. “Living here is great.”

    Business Development

    Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bethel New Life

    The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bethel New Life provides training and technical assistance to new and existing small businesses, this site primarily on Chicago’s West Side and in the City of Chicago.

    The center is certified by the state of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and funded through the federal Small Business Administration. It is one of 36 SBDCs in Illinois and the only one on Chicago’s West Side.

    Monthly Trainings: We offer a variety of training and education opportunities, thumb including workshops on starting a business in Illinois, cialis 40mg marketing, financing, accounting, legal structure, taxes, technology, social media and business planning. Workshops are generally led by professionals working in the topic area of focus.

    Technical Assistance/Individual Counseling:
    • One-On-One Business Counseling
    • Business Feasibility
    • Market Research
    • Financial Analysis
    • Business Planning
    • Loan Packaging for Business Loans
    • Technology Assistance

    Support to manufacturers:
    Our experienced and expert staff is supporting the renaissance of manufacturing on Chicago’s West Side – one manufacturer at a time. With over 170 manufacturing businesses generating over $1.5 billion in annual revenues, Bethel’s SBDC is assuring that it is not business as usual for West Side manufacturers.

    Entrepreneurship Training Program

    Bethel’s Entrepreneurship Training Program is for serious entrepreneurs who have already identified the area of business they want to pursue, but need expert guidance to minimize risk and maximize success. This program is geared toward entrepreneurs with new business ideas, owners of informally run businesses who want to become licensed and legally structured, and owners of emerging businesses that have been licensed and legally structured for less than two years.

    Entrepreneurs selected for this highly competitive program participate in 15 weeks of classes on business plans, marketing, financing, accounting, risk management, legal issues, and more, followed by a year of personal mentoring from a business leader. Qualified participants are also eligible for up to $10,000 in loans from The Private Bank.

    Bethel New Life offers the Entrepreneurship Training Program for two cohorts of entrepreneurs each year, one starting after Labor Day and the other starting in February.

    Download the 2012-2013 ETP Class List

    New Life Community Investments

    Do you need low-interest funds to start or expand a business or non-profit?
    Through New Life Community Investments, Bethel provides low-interest loans and makes program-related investments (PRIs) to businesses and non-profits that are located in, and provide products or services to, a low-income community in Cook County, primarily on the West Side of Chicago.

    Funds can be used for:
    • Start-up capital
    • Operations and expansion capital
    • Purchasing furniture or equipment
    • Increasing inventory
    • Renovating space
    • Constructing an addition to a building
    • And more

    For years, Bethel has helped local businesses grow and create new jobs, even in a recession, thanks toNew Life Community Investments. Through leveraging its investments, New Life Community Investments has made $9.9 million of investments on the West Side of Chicago since 2005.

    Community Economic Development

    Bethel’s community economic development efforts are targeted to assure that the development of businesses and jobs for the West Side align with the economic growth, prostate development and jobs of the Chicago region. We believe that it is essential that the economy of the West Side move from one of high levels of government support and low levels of sustainability into the mainstream regional economy, sale interconnected with the economy of the larger region and producing a net export economy for the West Side.

    Asset Building

    Bethel New Life has been helping West Side residents purchase their own homes and avoid foreclosure for over three decades. We have gotten pretty good at it.

    In a recent study of the purchase of over 200 homes on the West Side, view Bethel purchasers were found to be significantly less likely to use a subprime purchase loan (1.7x); to use a leveraged refinance (1.4x); or to have a foreclosure filing (2.6x). And, unhealthy most importantly, Bethel purchasers were twice as likely to be still in their home through 2011.

    Financial Literacy

    Bethel’s Community Savings Center can help you achieve your financial goals by giving you practical steps toward better financial management.

    The programs, services, and classes offered by the Center are designed to serve people often overlooked by traditional banks and other institutions. At the Community Savings Center, you will find friendly, professional staff waiting to offer you a unique combination of financial services, like check cashing, savings and checking accounts, and classes to help you manage your money better and save for your goals and dreams.

    We want you to take control of your finances. If you have the will, we have the way. Here’s what we offer:

    • Check cashing and money orders at a cost below currency exchanges
    • One-on-one financial counseling and education classes
    • Credit counseling

    Homeownership Counseling

    Bethel New Life can be your partner on the road to ownership. With over 30 years experience in homeowner education, community-building, and real estate development, we can help you achieve your goals for real estate ownership.
    Our freeclasses cover a full range of information needed to successfully purchase a home or investment property — and to keep it.

    Home Buyers Seminars
    Our comprehensive overview of the process of purchasing a home is taught by professionals in the fields of lending, real estate sales, real estate law, inspection and tax assessment. Everyone who attends the seminar receives one-on-one time with a real estate expert who will create a budget with you and estimate how much a bank will likely approve for your future mortgage. Class graduates receive a certificate for reduced down payment or closing costs and valuable coupons.
    Participants will learn the following and much more:

    • The criteria mortgage lenders use to approve loans
    • Good vs. bad credit and how to improve it
    • Down payments
    • How to negotiate a transaction
    • How to protect yourself legally

    Post-Purchase Seminars
    After the move-in, Bethel continues to be a valuable resource to homeowners and their neighborhood. Our seminars cover topics including:

    • Maintaining your budget to avoid foreclosure
    • Planning for the future
    • How to use your equity wisely
    • Pros and cons of refinancing
    • Do-it-yourself repairs vs. contracting
    • Saving money through home energy efficiency

    Foreclosure Prevention

    If you or someone you love is falling behind on mortgage payments, don’t despair. Bethel has helped hundreds of families save their homes. Come to Bethel to learn what you can do.

    Community Economic Development

    Bethel’s community economic development efforts are targeted to assure that the development of businesses and jobs for the West Side align with the economic growth, look development and jobs of the Chicago region. We believe that it is essential that the economy of the West Side move from one of high levels of government support and low levels of sustainability into the mainstream regional economy, cost interconnected with the economy of the larger region and producing a net export economy for the West Side.

    Business Development

    Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bethel New Life

    The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bethel New Life provides training and technical assistance to new and existing small businesses, nurse primarily on Chicago’s West Side and in the City of Chicago.

    The center is certified by the state of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and funded through the federal Small Business Administration. It is one of 36 SBDCs in Illinois and the only one on Chicago’s West Side.

    Monthly Trainings: We offer a variety of training and education opportunities, this including workshops on starting a business in Illinois, marketing, financing, accounting, legal structure, taxes, technology, social media and business planning. Workshops are generally led by professionals working in the topic area of focus.

    Technical Assistance/Individual Counseling:
    • One-On-One Business Counseling
    • Business Feasibility
    • Market Research
    • Financial Analysis
    • Business Planning
    • Loan Packaging for Business Loans
    • Technology Assistance

    Support to manufacturers:
    Our experienced and expert staff is supporting the renaissance of manufacturing on Chicago’s West Side – one manufacturer at a time. With over 170 manufacturing businesses generating over $1.5 billion in annual revenues, Bethel’s SBDC is assuring that it is not business as usual for West Side manufacturers.

    Entrepreneurship Training Program

    Bethel’s Entrepreneurship Training Program is for serious entrepreneurs who have already identified the area of business they want to pursue, but need expert guidance to minimize risk and maximize success. This program is geared toward entrepreneurs with new business ideas, owners of informally run businesses who want to become licensed and legally structured, and owners of emerging businesses that have been licensed and legally structured for less than two years.

    Entrepreneurs selected for this highly competitive program participate in 15 weeks of classes on business plans, marketing, financing, accounting, risk management, legal issues, and more, followed by a year of personal mentoring from a business leader. Qualified participants are also eligible for up to $10,000 in loans from The Private Bank.

    Bethel New Life offers the Entrepreneurship Training Program for two cohorts of entrepreneurs each year, one starting after Labor Day and the other starting in February.

    Download the 2012-2013 ETP Class List

    New Life Community Investments

    Do you need low-interest funds to start or expand a business or non-profit?
    Through New Life Community Investments, Bethel provides low-interest loans and makes program-related investments (PRIs) to businesses and non-profits that are located in, and provide products or services to, a low-income community in Cook County, primarily on the West Side of Chicago.

    Funds can be used for:
    • Start-up capital
    • Operations and expansion capital
    • Purchasing furniture or equipment
    • Increasing inventory
    • Renovating space
    • Constructing an addition to a building
    • And more

    For years, Bethel has helped local businesses grow and create new jobs, even in a recession, thanks toNew Life Community Investments. Through leveraging its investments, New Life Community Investments has made $9.9 million of investments on the West Side of Chicago since 2005.

    Business Development

    Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bethel New Life

    The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bethel New Life provides training and technical assistance to new and existing small businesses, medications primarily on Chicago’s West Side and in the City of Chicago.

    The center is certified by the state of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and funded through the federal Small Business Administration. It is one of 36 SBDCs in Illinois and the only one on Chicago’s West Side.

    Monthly Trainings: We offer a variety of training and education opportunities, this web including workshops on starting a business in Illinois, marketing, financing, accounting, legal structure, taxes, technology, social media and business planning. Workshops are generally led by professionals working in the topic area of focus.

    Technical Assistance/Individual Counseling:
    • One-On-One Business Counseling
    • Business Feasibility
    • Market Research
    • Financial Analysis
    • Business Planning
    • Loan Packaging for Business Loans
    • Technology Assistance

    Support to manufacturers:
    Our experienced and expert staff is supporting the renaissance of manufacturing on Chicago’s West Side – one manufacturer at a time. With over 170 manufacturing businesses generating over $1.5 billion in annual revenues, Bethel’s SBDC is assuring that it is not business as usual for West Side manufacturers.

    Entrepreneurship Training Program

    Bethel’s Entrepreneurship Training Program is for serious entrepreneurs who have already identified the area of business they want to pursue, but need expert guidance to minimize risk and maximize success. This program is geared toward entrepreneurs with new business ideas, owners of informally run businesses who want to become licensed and legally structured, and owners of emerging businesses that have been licensed and legally structured for less than two years.

    Entrepreneurs selected for this highly competitive program participate in 15 weeks of classes on business plans, marketing, financing, accounting, risk management, legal issues, and more, followed by a year of personal mentoring from a business leader. Qualified participants are also eligible for up to $10,000 in loans from The Private Bank.

    Bethel New Life offers the Entrepreneurship Training Program for two cohorts of entrepreneurs each year, one starting after Labor Day and the other starting in February.

    Download the 2012-2013 ETP Class List

    New Life Community Investments

    Do you need low-interest funds to start or expand a business or non-profit?
    Through New Life Community Investments, Bethel provides low-interest loans and makes program-related investments (PRIs) to businesses and non-profits that are located in, and provide products or services to, a low-income community in Cook County, primarily on the West Side of Chicago.

    Funds can be used for:
    • Start-up capital
    • Operations and expansion capital
    • Purchasing furniture or equipment
    • Increasing inventory
    • Renovating space
    • Constructing an addition to a building
    • And more

    For years, Bethel has helped local businesses grow and create new jobs, even in a recession, thanks toNew Life Community Investments. Through leveraging its investments, New Life Community Investments has made $9.9 million of investments on the West Side of Chicago since 2005.

    Asset Building

    Bethel New Life has been helping West Side residents purchase their own homes and avoid foreclosure for over three decades. We have gotten pretty good at it.

    In a recent study of the purchase of over 200 homes on the West Side, find Bethel purchasers were found to be significantly less likely to use a subprime purchase loan (1.7x); to use a leveraged refinance (1.4x); or to have a foreclosure filing (2.6x). And, most importantly, Bethel purchasers were twice as likely to be still in their home through 2011.

    Financial Literacy

    Bethel’s Community Savings Center can help you achieve your financial goals by giving you practical steps toward better financial management.

    The programs, services, and classes offered by the Center are designed to serve people often overlooked by traditional banks and other institutions. At the Community Savings Center, you will find friendly, professional staff waiting to offer you a unique combination of financial services, like check cashing, savings and checking accounts, and classes to help you manage your money better and save for your goals and dreams.

    We want you to take control of your finances. If you have the will, we have the way. Here’s what we offer:

    • Check cashing and money orders at a cost below currency exchanges
    • One-on-one financial counseling and education classes
    • Credit counseling

    Homeownership Counseling

    Bethel New Life can be your partner on the road to ownership. With over 30 years experience in homeowner education, community-building, and real estate development, we can help you achieve your goals for real estate ownership.
    Our freeclasses cover a full range of information needed to successfully purchase a home or investment property — and to keep it.

    Home Buyers Seminars
    Our comprehensive overview of the process of purchasing a home is taught by professionals in the fields of lending, real estate sales, real estate law, inspection and tax assessment. Everyone who attends the seminar receives one-on-one time with a real estate expert who will create a budget with you and estimate how much a bank will likely approve for your future mortgage. Class graduates receive a certificate for reduced down payment or closing costs and valuable coupons.
    Participants will learn the following and much more:

    • The criteria mortgage lenders use to approve loans
    • Good vs. bad credit and how to improve it
    • Down payments
    • How to negotiate a transaction
    • How to protect yourself legally

    Post-Purchase Seminars
    After the move-in, Bethel continues to be a valuable resource to homeowners and their neighborhood. Our seminars cover topics including:

    • Maintaining your budget to avoid foreclosure
    • Planning for the future
    • How to use your equity wisely
    • Pros and cons of refinancing
    • Do-it-yourself repairs vs. contracting
    • Saving money through home energy efficiency

    Foreclosure Prevention

    If you or someone you love is falling behind on mortgage payments, don’t despair. Bethel has helped hundreds of families save their homes. Come to Bethel to learn what you can do.

    Business Development

    Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bethel New Life

    The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bethel New Life provides training and technical assistance to new and existing small businesses, erectile primarily on Chicago’s West Side and in the City of Chicago.

    The center is certified by the state of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and funded through the federal Small Business Administration. It is one of 36 SBDCs in Illinois and the only one on Chicago’s West Side.

    Monthly Trainings: We offer a variety of training and education opportunities, including workshops on starting a business in Illinois, marketing, financing, accounting, legal structure, taxes, technology, social media and business planning. Workshops are generally led by professionals working in the topic area of focus.

    Technical Assistance/Individual Counseling:
    • One-On-One Business Counseling
    • Business Feasibility
    • Market Research
    • Financial Analysis
    • Business Planning
    • Loan Packaging for Business Loans
    • Technology Assistance

    Support to manufacturers:
    Our experienced and expert staff is supporting the renaissance of manufacturing on Chicago’s West Side – one manufacturer at a time. With over 170 manufacturing businesses generating over $1.5 billion in annual revenues, Bethel’s SBDC is assuring that it is not business as usual for West Side manufacturers.

    Entrepreneurship Training Program

    Bethel’s Entrepreneurship Training Program is for serious entrepreneurs who have already identified the area of business they want to pursue, but need expert guidance to minimize risk and maximize success. This program is geared toward entrepreneurs with new business ideas, owners of informally run businesses who want to become licensed and legally structured, and owners of emerging businesses that have been licensed and legally structured for less than two years.

    Entrepreneurs selected for this highly competitive program participate in 15 weeks of classes on business plans, marketing, financing, accounting, risk management, legal issues, and more, followed by a year of personal mentoring from a business leader. Qualified participants are also eligible for up to $10,000 in loans from The Private Bank.

    Bethel New Life offers the Entrepreneurship Training Program for two cohorts of entrepreneurs each year, one starting after Labor Day and the other starting in February.

    Download the 2012-2013 ETP Class List

    New Life Community Investments

    Do you need low-interest funds to start or expand a business or non-profit?
    Through New Life Community Investments, Bethel provides low-interest loans and makes program-related investments (PRIs) to businesses and non-profits that are located in, and provide products or services to, a low-income community in Cook County, primarily on the West Side of Chicago.

    Funds can be used for:
    • Start-up capital
    • Operations and expansion capital
    • Purchasing furniture or equipment
    • Increasing inventory
    • Renovating space
    • Constructing an addition to a building
    • And more

    For years, Bethel has helped local businesses grow and create new jobs, even in a recession, thanks toNew Life Community Investments. Through leveraging its investments, New Life Community Investments has made $9.9 million of investments on the West Side of Chicago since 2005.

    Business Development

    Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bethel New Life

    The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Bethel New Life provides training and technical assistance to new and existing small businesses, price primarily on Chicago’s West Side and in the City of Chicago.

    The center is certified by the state of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and funded through the federal Small Business Administration. It is one of 36 SBDCs in Illinois and the only one on Chicago’s West Side.

    Monthly Trainings: We offer a variety of training and education opportunities, price including workshops on starting a business in Illinois, viagra marketing, financing, accounting, legal structure, taxes, technology, social media and business planning. Workshops are generally led by professionals working in the topic area of focus.

    Technical Assistance/Individual Counseling:
    • One-On-One Business Counseling
    • Business Feasibility
    • Market Research
    • Financial Analysis
    • Business Planning
    • Loan Packaging for Business Loans
    • Technology Assistance

    Support to manufacturers:
    Our experienced and expert staff is supporting the renaissance of manufacturing on Chicago’s West Side – one manufacturer at a time. With over 170 manufacturing businesses generating over $1.5 billion in annual revenues, Bethel’s SBDC is assuring that it is not business as usual for West Side manufacturers.

    sbdcsba

    Entrepreneurship Training Program

    Bethel’s Entrepreneurship Training Program is for serious entrepreneurs who have already identified the area of business they want to pursue, but need expert guidance to minimize risk and maximize success. This program is geared toward entrepreneurs with new business ideas, owners of informally run businesses who want to become licensed and legally structured, and owners of emerging businesses that have been licensed and legally structured for less than two years.

    Entrepreneurs selected for this highly competitive program participate in 15 weeks of classes on business plans, marketing, financing, accounting, risk management, legal issues, and more, followed by a year of personal mentoring from a business leader. Qualified participants are also eligible for up to $10,000 in loans from The Private Bank.

    Bethel New Life offers the Entrepreneurship Training Program for two cohorts of entrepreneurs each year, one starting after Labor Day and the other starting in February.

    To learn how to apply, click here.

    Download the 2012-2013 ETP Class List
    The dream of a new life for low wage workers, more about ex-offenders or first-time Chicago job seekers on the Westside and beyond is no longer beyond reality. And all it requires is a six-month investment in your desire to succeed and a character of commitment.

    Because those are the primary qualifications to receive a free Advanced Manufacturing career education in a preparatory program offered by the Bethel New Life community development organization that began its initial class Monday. “You don’t have to have a high school diploma or a GED; we only require that you pass a drug screening, medical be 18 years old and have a desire to complete the program,” Bethel New Life Workforce Development Director Donna Germany said last Thursday. The program is still recruiting applicants.

    Germany was joined by Community Economic Development Vice President Ed Coleman at Bethel’s facilities at 4950 W. Thomas St. in the Austin neighborhood. They explained the multi-faceted training program is “not a quick fix” to gaining a stable, high paying manufacturing job in Chicago, but there are minimal qualifying criteria for the opportunity.

    post-1

    “The key word is opportunity,” Coleman said, adding that Bethel, once heavily invested in the since crashed real estate market, is now focusing on providing job and career development services.
    “We decided to do something that would impact people’s lives by getting them sustainable jobs, careers that provide living wages that will also help to stimulate business. So, we have homed in our business and career development perspective on delivering jobs in advanced manufacturing, because there is a great demand for workers in those industries.

    “People are looking for people with those kinds of skills.”

    Coleman also cited a recent World Business Chicago report that identified advanced manufacturing as a “key industry” that helps the Windy City stay on the pace with other big cities around the world in the competition to attract business. It also aligns Bethel’s activities with a citywide need that bodes well for economic opportunity in Westside communities that host a large number of manufacturing concerns.
    Tasked with shaping this new vision of Bethel into the concrete services offered in the Advanced Manufacturing career track, Germany outlined a four-pronged preparatory program aimed at elevating the job prospects of participants beyond low the paying positions of the prevailing possibilities for ex-offenders, entry-level workers or career changers in Westside neighborhoods.

    The program begins with academic skills enhancement training that targets raising student competency to 10th-grade levels in reading and math proficiency to “ensure they can earn advancement and promotion as well as job security.” Employing a differentiated curriculum developed at the University of Tennessee, that training is further complemented by employment readiness preparation and financial literacy education that focuses on healthy money management skills, credit scores and budgeting counseling “to maximize the benefit of resources,” said Germany.

    Bethel also shared the core competency curriculum with five other community services organizations, sponsoring free training sessions to make the program as widespread as possible. “This is how we know the curriculum works,” said Germany, adding that the curriculum is not rooted in a “one size fits all” approach and provides for adjustments to meet the needs of each individual learner.

    Once participants gain the necessary academic skills, they graduate into a 16-week Advance Manufacturing career training course administered by the Breaking Ground nonprofit and taught by an expert with more than 40 years in the industry. Scheduled to begin in mid-June, the class will have students are in class three hours each day for six months of individualized accelerated training that qualifies graduates for National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification in a number of industries.

    Graduates of the course earn a pair of NIMS certificates that qualify them for positions in quality control, inspection, mill operator, lathe operator and process engineering as well as production control, tool & die, shipping & receiving inspection, CNC (computerized numerical control) operator and CNC setup. Germany said the average starting wage for the jobs average around $12.50-$14 per hour.

    “Many of the students will have jobs waiting for them before they graduate,” said Coleman.

    “This is not a quick fix program,” Germany repeated. “Although the eligibility requirements are really not hard, we do have suitability standards that have to be met. That includes being here on time, making all your appointments, complying with directions and asking questions about something you do not understand.”

    “And it does take a six-month investment of time and desire.”

    “Desire,” emphasized Coleman, “is the key.”