UR Chicago: Faith Based Job Readiness Program
The UR (Urban Resiliency) Chicago Alliance is a faith-based ecosystem that bridges the under-resourced to resources through job development, mentorship, and long-term gainful employment.
We seek to accomplish our mission in four steps by:
- Partnering - Churches, non-profits, organizations, and businesses
- Facilitating - Community engagement
- Highlighting - Gifts and talents of program Participants
- Mentorship - Create, promote, and encourage deep bilateral mentorship relationships
We see value in the resiliency of those growing up in an urban context and work to build on that asset.
The UR Chicago Alliance was created to combat poverty through Employment and Mentorship. With decades of experience in Chicago’s inner-cities; our leadership understands the importance of gainful employment. By working with Churches, Non-profits, organizations, and businesses to provide opportunities for adults 18 and older in Rogers Park, we are helping to sustain families and strengthen communities.
With the generosity of Willow Creek North Shore, and invaluable support from Good News Partners, Park Community Church, The Vineyard Church in Evanston, and C24/7 Father's Arms Ministries, this initiative was launched under the leadership of Director Kevin Taylor. Kevin worked a number of years as an entrepreneur, has experience in business development, and networking, but his true passion is urban ministry. Born and raised in Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood, Christian mentors and Kevin’s faith helped him overcome overwhelming obstacles. In return helping those who come from similar circumstances became his lifelong desire.
The UR Chicago Alliance uses the Work Life Curriculum developed by the Chalmers Center as a base for the job readiness Training. The Work Life curriculum is founded on the belief that God has designed all people in His image with unique gifts and abilities, and given them the task of adding value to His world through work. God's people are called to recognize that all legitimate work is ultimately work done under the Lordship of Christ. If even the thief is called to work with their hands in order to have something to give, (Ephesians 4:28) then surely God has called all of His people to do good work—not out of some ethic of independence—but as God's chosen means by which people participate in and contribute to the life of the community.
We train mentors (UpLines) and mentees (Leaders) from this lens and create a space for long-term, (15 months) deep, mentorship relationships to flourish. The curriculum teaches soft and hard skills in preparation for employment and reconditions our perspective on future work. Training consists of (19) 2-hour sessions and then culminates with a graduation. This gives a Leader a certificate which affirms them and grants them access to our employee network. Each Leader is given one or more Uplines who have the responsibility of at least one face to face meeting and a phone call a week. It is through these relationships and new perspective we expect to see lives changed.
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