About & HISTOry
Employers need good workers. Workers need good jobs.
An aging workforce, emerging new technologies, and continuing decline of trades in high schools and community colleges will result in an estimated two million unfilled manufacturing jobs in the U.S. over the next ten years. This is a tragedy when so many people struggle to pay the bills, find a living wage job, and support their families in places like Chicago.
At Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC), we support healthy communities and economies by teaching low-income adults and workers the skills they need to earn a living wage. But we go beyond basic skills training. We also connect job seekers with good jobs in the manufacturing sector, and we foster the life skills that create a path out of poverty.
JARC was founded in 1985 as an economic development agency concentrated in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor and focused on keeping good manufacturing jobs in the neighborhood. Our initial efforts focused on training for manufacturers and development and operation of commercial buildings for industrial use.
In the 1990s we broadened the scope of our work to include a training center, targeted directly at jobseekers and community residents. Using its manufacturing expertise, JARC began implementing the Sectoral Model of workforce development: preparing job seekers for positions employers need to fill today.
By the 2000s, JARC became a leader and expert in job training and employer engagement. We began offering our Manufacturing Bridge Program to help lower skilled adults raise their math and reading scores to move into advanced training. With changes in the manufacturing sector, we began to focus its training on computer numerical control (CNC) and welding. And as more people came through our doors looking to start a career, we scaled up our financial support services - including financial coaching and public benefits screening - to help our participants meet their basic needs and build their wealth.
Where We Are Today
As we have developed an expertise in manufacturing job training, we've worked to expand our impact. Thousands of Chicagoans lack the resources to move out of poverty. And local manufacturers continue to struggle with skills gaps in key positions like CNC machinist and welder.
In 2014 we launched our first geographic expansion to DuPage County, called the Metro West Careers in Manufacturing Programs, to serve the growing number of low-income suburban residents and the many manufacturers who call the suburbs home. We also launched a separate 501c3 affiliate in Baltimore, MD in 2015. More recently, we expanded our programs to the Austin neighborhood on the west side of Chicago - a community of great challenges and opportunities.
We have grown and evolved considerably over the last 30 plus years, but our purpose has always been very simple: people who work should not live in poverty.