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HCCB Success: Class Valedictorian, Radiology Career
HCCB Success: Class Valedictorian, Radiology Career
Steve Mazner was laid off from ATA Airlines after they ceased operations in 2008. Steve was discouraged after losing his job as a flight attendant, “I felt lost and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. The airline industry was my life for 15 years.” His pay was consistently cut to keep the airline in operation and he knew the airline industry was not the same as it used to be. Steve wanted to get into a different field of work, “I decided to go back to school and train for a job in health care.” Steve heard about our agency from his former union, The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and enrolled in our Health Care Career Bridge (HCCB) program in spring 2009.

The CFL Workers Assistance Committee’s HCCB program is funded by the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services and is one of the few bridge programs tailored specifically for laid-off workers interested in transitioning to a career in health care.

After completing the bridge program, Steve decided to pursue radiology training and received a training voucher to attend the Medical Radiologic Technology program at Malcolm X College in Chicago. Steve really appreciated the hard work of his case managers, “Judy Lai and Mara Suttmann Lea were amazing. They kept in close contact with me throughout school to ensure I had everything I needed.” Steve graduated at the top of his class and was Malcolm X College’s valedictorian in spring 2011.

Sustainable Employment
Steve is currently working at Weiss Memorial Hospital making $32 an hour as a Radiologic Technologist, in the registry department. When asked what the CFL Workers Assistance Committee means to him, Steve said, “education and help for training for a new career in a stable industry. I can now continue to grow and advance professionally and feel confident about my abilities.” Steve is continuing on with his education and is starting a B.S. program in Radiologic Science this fall and thanks our whole team for being an instrumental part of his success, “I love my new career and am very happy I had the resources of the CFL Workers Assistance Committee behind me the whole way.”

For more information about our next HCCB program orientation, call us at 312.565.9431 or complete our contact form.
Business Services Connects Participant to Job at Kraft
Business Services Connects Participant to Job at Kraft

After 22 years as a production worker, Joe was laid off from IKO Chicago, a manufacturing company. Without recent job search experience and a mortgage to pay, Joe was stressed and afraid. “I knew I didn’t have the skills to find employment on my own,” he said. United Steel Workers Local 1210 setup a workshop where Joe learned about the CFL Workers Assistance Committee’s Dislocated Worker Program. After enrolling, Joe received several employment services and attended our 72-hour Basic Skills Program to update his math and reading skills. Over the next several months, Joe followed through on job leads and interviews, but he had yet to receive an offer. With financial hardship looming, Joe requested a loan modification from his mortgage lender and was denied. Joe met with the CFL Workers Assistance Committee’s Business Services Manager, John Bradarich. “I really thought I might lose my home but after meeting with John I felt better,” said Joe. “John helped me and would call me with interviews. And I would drop everything and go.”

Persistence Pays Off

In October 2010, Joe’s persistence paid off. John arranged for Joe to interview with ServiceWorks, a WIA partner, for a production trainee position at Kraft Foods in Chicago. Joe was offered the full-time, full benefits job at Kraft. Joe already received a wage increase to $16.14 per hour. After one year, he will receive another raise. “The hardest thing for me was that I knew I was a reliable, hard worker but companies were not seeing that,” said Joe. The CFL Workers Assistance Committee helped me get interviews and taught me how to show companies that I am a good worker.” Joe plans to work hard for another 10 years, until he can retire and enjoy life!

Joe's story was recently highlighted in the Chicago Sun-Times article, Men Recovering More Quickly from 'Mancession' than Women.

Health Care Career Bridge Program
Health Care Career Bridge Program

Funded by the Department of Family and Support Services, the Health Care Career Bridge Program (HCCB) is one of the few bridge programs tailored specifically for laid-off workers interested in transitioning to a career in health care. HCCB prepares job seekers for health care occupations such as EKG Technician, Radiology Technologists, Dental Hygienists, etc. Any eligible and suitable dislocated workers who have a vested interest in entering the health care field are welcome to participate in the program.

The HCCB Program is a pre-vocational program that addresses basic math and reading skills, medical terminology, health care safety, laws and ethics, and physiology and anatomy. After completion of the HCCB Program, participants are prepared to pursue a skilled certification program in their field of choice prior to obtaining employment within the health care field.

For information about our next HCCB Program orientation, call us at (312) 565-9431 or complete our Contact Form.

Marcus Buell, Story of Success
Marcus Buell, Story of Success

Marcus Buell enrolled in CFL Workers Assistance Committee's Dislocated Worker Program after being laid off from the University of Chicago where he worked for more than 15 years as a housekeeper. Marcus participated in several programs offered through CFL Workers Assistance Committee including: Basic Skills Course, Introduction to Healthcare, and the Transitional Jobs Project.

"When I was laid off, I was devastated. I found out about CFL Workers Assistance Committee when I attended an employment workshop that my union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 743, was sponsoring," said Buell.

For a brief time, Buell lost contact with Judy Lai, his CFL Workers Assistance Committee case manager. But Lai was determined to re-connect with Buell.

"After working with Marcus, I had a sense that he might be facing some temporary obstacles," said Lai. "I thought he needed some additional structure so I suggested he come to CFL Workers Assistance Committee office a few days a week to start looking for a job," she said.

"That turned out to be the most important thing that I could've done," said Buell." During his visits, Buell spoke with Lai, worked on his resume and cover letter and learned interview techniques. He also participated in the Transitional Jobs Project (TJP), which provides a weekly stipend for participants who volunteer at least 15 hours per week at a local nonprofit organization. Through TJP, Buell volunteered at the Lincoln Park Zoo for five months. Because of the weekly office visits and volunteer experience, Buell said his "self esteem began to get better and better."

Recently, Buell landed a job as a Housekeeping Specialist Assistant at Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he earns $11.96 per hour. But he's not done yet.

"My plans are to work in my current position until I see the opportunity for advancement," said Buell. "But I've got my foot in the door, thanks to CFL Workers Assistance Committee. They are really good at what they do and I know that I couldn't have done it without them," said Buell.

Training Grant Improves Worker Safety
Training Grant Improves Worker Safety

In partnership with City Colleges of Chicago's Workforce Institute, CFL Workers Assistance Committee helped Euro Marble & Granite, Inc. train its workforce and pursue industry accreditation. Specifically, CFL Workers Assistance Committee used Workforce Investment Act incumbent worker training funds to provide Euro Marble with a grant to train and certify 12 employees in OSHA safety standards and forklift operation.

John Bradarich, CFL Workers Assistance Committee's business services manager, guided Euro Marble through the incumbent worker training process.

"Working with Euro Marble and our partners, we helped to ensure that the company received a customized training program to meet its needs," said Bradarich.

Euro Marble, a small, family-owned company based in Schiller Park, Ill., fabricates custom- made stone countertops for residential buildings. While the company weathered the housing market crash, like many other businesses, it had to make tough decisions about how to invest its resources. In a tough economy, employee training becomes even more important to helping a company stay competitive but it's often cut because of limited resources.

"While safety is our #1 priority, today's economic situation would have required us to postpone much-needed training and certification in OSHA and forklift operation," said Wojtek Rajch, president, Euro Marble & Granite. "This invaluable training has helped us keep safety a top priority."

CFL Workers Assistance Committee grant allowed the Workforce Institute to develop and deliver a 10-hour OSHA safety course and 6-hour forklift operation course for Euro Marble employees. Now, all 12 employees are certified in one or both of the training areas. Euro Marble matched the grant amount by paying wages and benefits to the employees during training, including the Saturday OSHA course.

Euro Marble employees said the training demonstrated the company's commitment to ensuring safety in the workplace. And, the training positioned some employees for possible promotions, which may result in the opening of entry-level positions. The safety training also serves as one step in Euro Marble's pursuit of accreditation from the Marble Institute of America.

John Bradarich continues to work with Euro Marble to address additional training needs in advanced CNC machine operation, laser measurement and AutoCAD.

"CFL Workers Assistance Committee exceeded our expectations, said Mr. Rajch. "They made the grant process simple. We are excited about working with it on future projects."

Workers Rally to Save Job Training Programs
Workers Rally to Save Job Training Programs

Workers rallied on Thursday, March 24, at the James R. Thompson Center with labor, business and community leaders urging Congress to stop proposed FY 2011 national cutbacks for employment and job training programs.

Protesters marched and chanted, “You say cut back. We say fight back” demonstrating the importance of an economic recovery that includes jobs, workforce development and education programs. Lead by the Chicago Federation of Labor a local alliance organized the rally in response to the National Skills Coalition’s (NSC) call for a National Workforce Day of Action. The NSC is a broad-based coalition seeking to raise the skills of America’s workers across a range of industries.

The recent federal Continuing Resolution includes $830 million in cuts to key job training programs, including a reduction of $307 million for the Workforce Investment Act youth, adult and dislocated worker programs. Job training programs will continue to be at risk during the FY2012 budget negotiations. It’s important that we take action by telling Congress to support job training and education!