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Skills Announces Mark Hoplamazian as New Board Chair

Marie and Mark at the Employment Champions Breakfast

Skills for Chicagoland’s Future Honors Walgreens Boots Alliance and Saint Sabina Employment Resource Center, and Announces Hyatt President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian as New Board Chair  at Fourth Annual Employment Champions Breakfast

Nearly $900,000 raised in advance of event; funds will help return 1,400 unemployed and underemployed Chicagoland residents to work in 2019

CHICAGO—October 5, 2018—Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (Skills)—a public-private partnership that meets the hiring needs of employers by offering innovative solutions to place qualified, unemployed and underemployed candidates into available positions—today hosted its fourth annual Employment Champions Breakfast, where it celebrated the placement of more than 5,500 Chicagoland job seekers since its launch six years ago. Nearly $900,000 was raised prior to the event, with even more commitments secured on-site to support Skills’ mission of returning the unemployed and underemployed to work.

More than 500 Chicago business, community and workforce development leaders celebrated the commitment of employers and community organizations that champion and advocate for the unemployed. At the event, Skills announced that Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, will serve as the organization’s new board chair effective October 6. Hoplamazian takes over the position from Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions, who has served as board chair since 2015. Additionally, Hyatt announced that it has joined Skills’ “Beyond the Diploma” youth initiative as the next employer to create career pathways for young Chicagoans, coupled with the necessary supports to be successful on the job and persist in their careers.

“Hyatt has always been a place where people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets can realize meaningful, life-long careers from entry-level roles,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “In chairing the board of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future and as part of Hyatt’s RiseHY program, I’m proud to help create pathways to employment for young people and help members of our communities be their best.”

“For six years, Skills for Chicagoland’s Future has made a real difference in the lives of thousands of Chicago job seekers, including a special commitment to our youth,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “As we bring more major employers to Chicago, it’s important to have partners like Skills that can help them provide economic opportunity to unemployed and underemployed Chicagoans.”

Skills’ impact in the Chicagoland area has been greatest in communities that are most in need, particularly on Chicago’s South and West sides. The organization is on track in 2018 to place more than 1,200 unemployed and underemployed job seekers into jobs with more than 50 Chicagoland business. The majority of the candidates Skills has placed this year come from Chicago communities with the highest unemployment rates, including Austin, Auburn-Gresham, Chatham, Humboldt Park, South Chicago, West Pullman, Roseland and West Englewood.

At today’s event, Skills unveiled its three-year strategic plan with the intent to “Inspire Every Company to Hire the Unemployed and Underemployed” through advocacy, consulting, career enhancement services and job placements. As part of this plan, Skills’ announced a new goal to place 9,000 job seekers over three years with 45 percent of hires drawn from the top ten Chicago neighborhoods with the highest unemployment rates.

“Today and every year at the Employment Champions Breakfast, we honor and thank our partners for changing the lives of unemployed and underemployed Chicagoans,” said Marie Trzupek Lynch, founding president and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. “In 2018, so many employers, funders and community organizations stepped up with Skills to help Chicago youth chart their own careers. Both our adult and expanded youth work achieved greater impact in 2018 and neither would have been possible without their support.”

The Champion for the Unemployed Award was presented to Walgreens Boots Alliance. Walgreens has been a partner of Skills since 2014, and since then has hired more than 80 job seekers. Additionally, the company served as the first employer to take part in the Beyond the Diploma initiative. Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, Walgreens executive vice president and global chief human resources officer, has been a member of Skills’ Board of Directors since 2013.

The career pathways program component of Beyond the Diploma program connects youth ages 18 to 26 to jobs with a clearly defined career pathway, while they obtain a relevant degree or certification. Participating youth also receive mentoring support from local nonprofit partners. The first cohort of youth hires joined Walgreens in early 2018, and the program has since expanded to include Rush University Medical Center, Freedman Seating, CDW, McDonald’s and GoHealth. Employers are on pace to hire 250 disconnected youth through Pivot to Success over the next two years.

The Advocate for the Unemployed Award was presented to the Saint Sabina Employment Resource Center (ERC). The ERC connects Auburn Gresham, Englewood and South Side residents to meaningful and sustainable career opportunities. The ERC has been a long-time partner of Skills and a vital link to local residents on the South Side. In what has become one of Skills strongest partnerships, Skills and Saint Sabina have collaborated on a series of hiring events in the community that have attracted more than 500 attendees in the last two years alone. By bringing together committed employers and qualified but overlooked job seekers, these hiring events have resulted in a 50 percent increase in hires referred by Saint Sabina to Skills.

Greg & Anna Brown, CDW, GCM Grosvenor, Motorola Solutions, and Sanmina served as the Premier Sponsors for the event. The breakfast was Presented by The Canning Foundation, Ernst & Young, Exelon, Kirkland & Ellis LLP,  Brad and Ali Singer, Underwriters Laboratories and Walgreens. Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Edgewater Funds, Grainger, McDonald’s, Northern Trust and TrueBlue served as Advocate sponsors. Additional sponsors included Accenture, AIM Specialty Health, AT&T, AutoNation, Joan & Dennis Berger, Stacey & Joseph Blasko, Boeing, Michael Bonds, Challenger Gray & Christmas, Inc., HUB International, Hyatt, James Hardie, JPMorgan Chase & Co., NorthShore University Health System, Polk Bros Foundation, Rush University Medical Center, Russell Reynolds Associates, Michael Scimo, Solstice, Ulta Beauty, Ultimate Software, USG, The University of Chicago, University of Chicago Medicine, Winston & Strawn LLP and Wintrust.

For more about the Employment Champions Breakfast, please click here.

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