These are the stories of RiseKit’s job seekers, community organizations, employers, foundations, and government leaders that have had a rising impact.
Creating a movement requires sharing everyone’s impact to rise together.
Breanna Hollie specializes in Trauma-Informed Coaching for Opportunity Youth to become job-ready. She leads a team at Lawrence Hall helping youth reach their fullest potential.
RiseKit and Lawrence Hall came together to partner on the Justice Advisory Council (JAC) Grant. Breanna's team at Lawrence Hall are helping their at-risk opportunity youth job seekers rise through trauma informed job readiness coaching.
Judith Dawson leads the re-entry department of Kane County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Ron Hain who was sworn in December of 2018. He campaigned on a platform of rehabilitation for jail inmates — from receiving mental health treatments to participating in jail job programs and helping opioid addicts receive treatment. Dawson’s role is the first step in creating his proposed jobs program in the Adult Corrections Center. Dawson, who worked for Invest Aurora for three years, will help connect inmates to job opportunities. Dawson said her first steps will be to look at GED programs, pre-GED programs and internship and apprenticeship programs.“I feel that for our citizens who have been incarcerated, if they don’t have education and job skills, they don’t have choices,” Dawson said. “I’m all about giving them choices and helping our business community take advantage of the wonderful talent of Kane County. We are a nation of second chances.”
William and his team member, Mark, have referred over hundreds of job seekers that engage with CPD. I serve as a civilian Assistant Director with the Chicago Police Department's Office of Community Policing. I am in charge of crime abatement workshops for businesses and landlords, crime prevention presentations to individuals, businesses, and community groups. On various occasions I have also served as the acting supervisor for the civilian field operations staff across the city. I also conduct training and orientations for our volunteer court advocates. Since September of 2015, I also have served as an auxiliary youth trainer for students in the 6th through 8th grades for a federally funded youth engagement pilot program.
Arjun is the Founder of GoodSend. GoodSend provides direct payments to job seekers and Chicagoans in need. GoodSend has provided over $10,000 of direct payments to job seekers on RiseKit to address last mile barriers to employment such as transportation, clothing, phone bills, and more. This has helped over 95 people get or keep job, get or join a training program or address crises.
D (his name is hidden for safety reasons) came to RiseKit while on parole, actively fighting an open court case. He has worked closely with our Career Navigator to formulate short and long-term goals designed to improve his life position. He has been committed to taking advantage of the resources RiseKit has shared with him and enrolled in a Customer Service Training Program with our nonprofit partner Greater Chicago Food Depository. Our Career Navigator wrote a letter of reference to share with the judge overseeing his case - speaking to D’s commitment to positive change. His attorney shared with us that the work D has done with RiseKit and the letter of reference provided by his Career Navigator aided the judge in his “not guilty” verdict.
D recently shared that he was able to take his first vacation to Los Angeles.
D is rising for a second chance.
Ariana Herrera was working as a paralegal and in desperate need of a career change. She signed up to RiseKit and received help from a Career Navigator to update her resume to highlight how her paralegal skills are transferable to other industries. After a few mock interviews and job applications, Ariana received a full-time job offer from Chicago Public Schools and is working as a teacher's aide.
Ariana is rising for a career change to help more youth and students.
As the CEO of Freedman Seating, Craig Freedman is committed to educating and attracting individuals from all walks of life to explore engineering and manufacturing careers. Freedman Seating partners with over 15 community organizations to source overlooked and untapped talent from their local community in and around Chicago’s West Side.
Daniel Mackey is the Employment Training Specialist at Growing Home in Chicago. Daniel designs, evaluates, and facilitates Employment Training and their Job Readiness Curriculum in his role. He also assists with recruitment and outreach for cohorts; obtaining new employer partners; and establishing community partnerships. He believes education is empowerment and has a genuine passion for helping people live their best lives.
David Lee came to RiseKit after being referred by Chicago Police Department and the Cook County Justice System. David had his back against the wall and was also going through a trial in which he was wrongly accused.
Fast forward 2+ years, David Lee and RiseKit worked together to get him the resources he needed to persevere through trial. After 2.5 years, David Lee is a free man with no more stress on his back.
David is currently going through Defy Ventures to work on his business plan of starting a pizza truck.
I was born and raised in Englewood, Chicago. After moving from Minnesota to Oklahoma, I made it back home motivated to find a good-paying job to support my family. It was not easy to get started. You have to go through so many things - you have to go through google, text, phone calls, and the internet.
Luckily, I met Sgt. Mark Baxtrom with the Chicago Police Department, who referred me to ReentryChicago.co. There I met Matt, RiseKit’s Career Coach. He helped me find the right opportunity at Cara’s Clean Slate, provided a small cash grant to help cover my phone bill so I could keep access to the internet, and offered much-needed encouragement along the way. RiseKit really gave me the opportunity to expand my options further - it made the world my oyster.
I am excited to continue working with Cara’s Clean Slate to gain more work experience so that I can find a better job one day. RiseKit has truly given me an opportunity to do better for me and my family. I would say to anyone looking to make a change - RiseKit is the opportunity to help you get out and get up. Rise beyond your beliefs. A lot of people don’t know that. Just Rise with RiseKit.
Esther Beltran came from working multiple jobs, full-time at the Better Business Bureau and part-time at Burlington Coat Factory. She has an extensive network of friends and family in Chicago, and that’s how she found RiseKit. Her friend, who previously used RiseKit, shared the Kaizen Health job listing on RiseKit with her.
Esther, who hasn’t interviewed in over ten years, was nervous about getting started with updating her resume and refreshing her interview skills. She started working with a Career Navigator, who updated her resume, gave mock interviews (with tips on answering certain specific interview questions), and worked around her busy schedule to connect with her. That kind of personalized service was her favorite part of working with RiseKit saying, “So many different businesses say they'll help and then they never help you, and you become a number. Everything is so computerized. I've seen how CareerBuilder works. It's all emails, and no one is getting in touch with you and helping you 1-1. People are missing the personal touch in customer service that RiseKit has.”
Fortunately, Esther started her job as a client success associate at Kaizen Health in January, and she loves the team and system of support the job provides. We’re excited to see her continue to rise!
Gladys connected with RiseKit through a World Business Chicago hiring event.
Gladys used our software to not only explore employment opportunities, but utilized the resources provided to her through our Career Navigator to explore ways to increase her skill set. She is currently finishing up Center for Changing Lives 24 week Microsoft Office Certification course, and recognizes how beneficial these new skills will be as she advances her career.
She states, “Working with RiseKit's career navigator, Melissa, has been an absolute joy. I shared my situation with them and did not feel judged. RiseKit connected me to multiple resources in my areas of need. There are no words to express how grateful I am for all of the help they have given me!”
Jacci Boykin came to RiseKit through re:work training. Her goal was to start a business or break into technology. Jacqui ended up joining Sunshine Enterprises to tweak her business model and she is forever grateful to scale her caregiving business.
Jacci is rising to grow as an entrepreneur!
Jemome was referred to RiseKit by Storycatcher’s Theatre. He was connected to our Career Navigator and received immediate support and housing resources to help him provide stability for his son.
Jemome has now secured housing, a new trades certification, and is looking forward to the future!
Jemome is rising for a second chance.
Working with RiseKit’s Career Navigator gave Marcus hope. As a returning citizen, he felt defeated and overwhelmed while seeking employment opportunities. RiseKit helped Marcus update his resume and introduced him to various resources and training opportunities designed to increase his skill-set and secure meaningful employment. Marcus enrolled in CARA’s Cleanslate program which provided him with hands-on, paid job training experience.
Marcus shared that he appreciates the one-on-one assistance from RiseKit and that the support he has received has made him feel hopeful for the first time in a long time.
Marcus is rising!
Marisela Williams and Freedman Seating are committed to educating and attracting individuals from all walks of life to explore engineering and manufacturing careers. They are located in Chicago’s West Side and partner with over 15 community organizations to source overlooked and untapped talent locally. Marisela and Freedman Seating love giving second chances.
Markita heard about RiseKit through our community outreach efforts. She utilized RiseKit’s software to apply for jobs and get connected to the resources she needed.
A Career Navigator on RiseKit provided her with resume support and interview preparedness; Markita shared that this helped her get the job she was hoping for!
Ralfael rose above his criminal record to increase his opportunity of finding a job by connecting with a Chicago-based workforce development program called Growing Home, Inc. At Growing Home, Ralfael re-entered society and learned to grow and harvest food from scratch. While participating in this three-month paid program, Ralfael connected with RiseKit, who presented the opportunity to interview with Freedman Seating, a leader in the seating industry and an employer with a strong second-change and DEI program. Ralfael was hired as a machine operator and is excited about the opportunity to grow within the company as he gains experience and knowledge.
Ralfael was referred to RiseKit by our community partner, Growing Home, Inc.
Randy heard about RiseKit through my Parole Officer. I was able to use RiseKit to get resume help and apply to jobs. RiseKit also helped me with transportation, and I received $100 to assist with my food and clothing expense while staying in transitional housing post-release.
Randy ended up getting a job at McDonald’s and am grateful that McDonald’s offers jobs for people with backgrounds.
Randy is rising for a second chance.