The job markets on the west and south sides of Chicago continue to struggle, where education and job opportunities are extremely difficult to find. The community-based organization Greater West offers education programs tailored to local business demands, such as Bird-X, Inc., including its shipping and receiving program currently in progress.
April 2014 marks the start of Greater West Town Community Development Project’s most recent community education program for shipping and receiving skills, tailored to the specific needs of local businesses who hire its graduates, including Bird-X, Inc.
"Greater West is a community-based response to expand economic opportunities for the disadvantaged residents of the Greater West Town communities,” said Mike Redmond, Program Coordinator and one of the instructors of the class.
The shipping and receiving program gives participating members of the community the tools to learn how to operate a shipping facility, including various kinds of forklift operation, hand-held scanner skills, UPS and FedEx computer systems, and international shipping requirements. “It’s basically a year’s worth of job experience knowledge formatted into a 12 week program,” said Carmen Myers, another course instructor.
Brenda Gaddis was placed at Bird-X, Inc. after graduating Greater West’s Shipping and Receiving course. “I found out about Greater West on TV; I applied and was accepted, then went through the course – I had no idea there was so much involved to work in a warehouse! I’m so happy I found them.” Ms. Gaddis has been employed at Bird-X for 3 years.
Jimmy Marks, Director of Operations at Bird-X, Inc. (whose offices and warehouses also house Cozy Products andYates Motloid) and Partner of Greater West, has found these programs extremely beneficial. “It’s difficult to find employees with the skills that match today’s complicated shipping and receiving requirements. International shipping is even more difficult, so having a program like this that so perfectly teaches these skills to eligible employees in our community is priceless. This is why I’ve been using Greater West with Bird-X, Yates, and Cozy for 8 years.”
In addition to the obvious benefit to local businesses, Greater West helps their community and individuals within the community find hope and opportunity in today’s struggling job market. Many Greater West Town students are low income and lack formal education and skills. Greater West Town graduates include non-high school graduates, ex-offenders, and low income or long-term unemployed.
“I love working with people,” Mr. Redmond stated, “I love watching them go from one step to another. I’ve been here 17 years – I wouldn’t trade this job in for the world.”
Founded in 1988 (operating for 26 years), Greater West’s mission is to improve the conditions of the Greater West Town community by bridging the gap between its unemployed workers and local businesses through education. Emphasizing the fact it’s not about “fixing” individuals, rather building bridges, Greater West has put thousands of individuals to work.
Bird-X, Inc. was founded in 1964 and is the leading brand of humane bird and pest control, and is dedicated to protecting human health, wildlife and the environment in which we all live. The Chicago-based company manufactures a complete line of unique pest control products which are shipped worldwide, favored by government and private entities alike for an unmatched focus on quality, efficacy, and customer service.
Cozy Products offer low-wattage personal space heaters that focus on providing safe, economical, green, effective heating solutions.
Yates Motloid have provided dental lab market solutions for over 50 years. All products have been developed, manufactured, tested, approved, and used by many of the leading dental schools and labs throughout the world.
Bird-X and its affiliates have all been employing Greater West graduates for 8 years.