Partnership Will Offer Economic Development and Employment Support in South Suburbs
Residents and business owners in Worth Township will have access to workforce development assistance and much more thanks to an extended partnership between Worth Township and the Economic Strategies Development Corporation (ESDC).
ESDC located in Pilsen began working together with Worth Township officials during COVID-19 to implement the Township’s Food for Hope or emergency food distribution program. The program was initiated by ESDC and has been adopted by other organizations looking to address residents seeking food assistance.
With the help of ESDC, Worth Township distributed approximately 10,000 food boxes in a 13-month period. Worth Township currently serves all or parts of Alsip, Blue Island, Bridgeview, Chicago Ridge, Crestwood, Evergreen Park, Hometown, Merrionette Park, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Robbins, and Worth.
“The pandemic called for a new perspective on community service,” explained Worth Township Clerk Eamon McMahon. “We expanded existing benefit programs and introduced new ones like Food for Hope, a monthly emergency food distribution. We need to keep evolving with the times.”
Officials from both sides decided to expand their partnership from food distribution to supporting the Township’s economic development efforts. The partners said the extension of their broader collaboration will further opportunities for those interested in workforce development, technical assistance to businesses, financial literacy and more all hosted at the Township located at 11601 S. Pulaski in Alsip.
A list of the services offered may include interview preparation, resume writing, bookkeeping seminars, grant writing and maybe a legal clinic for entrepreneurs with many services aimed at individual job seekers.
Beginning Thursday, July 28th, ESDC will be present one day a week, every other week at the Township Hall to offer these services and help facilitate workshops and other educational opportunities. The first day will offer free professional portrait sessions applicants can use for business cards, resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and other platforms. The photos will be offered between 10:00 am – 2:00 pm and registration is encouraged but no appointment is necessary.
“We are excited to expand our presence and start staffing the ESDC Worth Township office,” stated Alex Esparza, CEO and Executive Director at ESDC. “By being there, we will get to learn more and understand the needs of the community so we may help to serve them better.” The new services will help individuals and business owners to schedule one-on-one consultations with experienced professionals.
ESDC has a long history of serving the community dating back to the mid 1970’s. Formerly known as Eighteenth Street Development Corporation, the nonprofit was founded in response to the housing crisis that impacted the Hispanic community of Pilsen.
Today, ESDC assists early-stage startups to the next phase of development, as well as fostering the advancement of the industrial corridor and more. It has expanded its scope of services geographically and supports a more holistic model of economic development that respects diverse social and economic backgrounds.
McMahon believes working with a respected and community-based organization such as ESDC will bring much needed resources and benefits to our township residents. “ESDC is a proven partner who has already demonstrated to the people of Worth Township that they are ready and willing to deliver vital services to our community. Local government and community groups like ESDC are a powerful force when we pull together. I’m looking forward to working with Alex and his team to find new ways to serve.”
The Township is also asking individuals to consider donating slightly used business apparel for both men and women, to be used by participating job seekers in the employment readiness programs. Donations may be dropped off at the Township Hall’s Clerk’s Office.
Worth Township Supervisor Patricia Joan Murphy thanked Clerk McMahon for spearheading this effort and helping expand the partnership between the two entities. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Eamon for his leadership on this project.
To make an appointment for the program, residents are encouraged to contact Colleen Kenny or Julie Jackowiak in the Clerk’s Office at 708-371-2900, Extension125 or 127.
For more information about ESDC, visit their website at www.esdccchicago.org.