CHICAGO (CBS) — On Chicago’s close to West Aspect, on the headquarters of 1 well-known non revenue group, there may be loads of exercise — and loads of happiness.
Individuals who as soon as puzzled what they might do for work, immediately have good jobs and are contributing to their group. As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reveals us, maybe you talked to them on the cellphone and did not realize it.
Michael Hansen had a giant query when he was youthful:
“How I used to be going to be gainfully employed as an individual who was blind or visually impaired?” he stated.
Blind since start, Hansen feared the chances weren’t in his favor.
“The statistics for unemployment for people who find themselves blind or visually impaired, able-bodied people who find themselves blind and visually impaired, with out some other disabilities, is someplace between 70% and 80%,” he stated.
However immediately, Hansen will not be solely gainfully employed, he loves his job and his co-workers.
“I can contribute. It is one thing to do every single day. It is revenue,” Hansen stated. “The second is I get to assist folks. I get to assist the sufferers who’re on my cellphone.”
Working at a name heart, run by Chicago Lighthouse, the longtime non-profit which serves the blind and visually-impaired.
“I like it. It is a very fast-paced atmosphere. Day-after-day is one thing totally different.” Marcus Johnson, Chicago Lighthouse name heart
The Chicago Lighthouse has contracts with greater than 10 purchasers, together with the Illinois Tollway, College of Illinois Well being and Prepare dinner County Well being. So, as an instance you might want to make a health care provider’s appointment or pay a invoice, there’s good probability somebody right here will take your name.
“I really feel that Chicago Lighthouse gives larger service to their staff, however they’re additionally offering a tremendous service for the sufferers of Prepare dinner County,” stated John Prendergast of Prepare dinner County Well being.
Staff, like Keianna Parker, grasp this expertise to do their jobs.
“My job is aiding our sufferers by making appointments at our eye clinics,” Parker stated. “It’ll inform me the identify of the clinics. It’ll inform me the tackle and on that tackle line it has the suite quantity,” Parker stated.
The pc she’s sitting at didn’t show anybody’s private info after we visited.
, a blind musician taking part in guitar in Chicago subways. It was problem to eke out a residing. Actually, he was robbed a number of instances.
“I went to use to totally different locations. I submitted my resume however the calls by no means got here,” Hernandez stated.
That was till he went to work on the name heart. As we speak, he and spouse personal a house.
“I by no means, by no means in my life would think about that I might discover a job attributable to my incapacity. I’m blind since start,” Hernandez stated.
The cash Chicago Lighthouse earns from purchasers makes it doable to broaden its companies.
“You possibly can’t depend on donations, you’ll be able to’t depend on grants and you’ll’t depend on funding from state or federal authorities. So you need to have one thing that is coming in that’s self-sustaining and we discovered that with name facilities,” stated Kathy Stoeberl of Chicago Lighthouse.
It is a huge win for all: Lighthouse is supported. The purchasers are completely happy and staff have good-paying jobs, and like Michael Hansen: objective and achievement.
“To not simply have a job, however to work for a larger mission and to work with nice folks, it is simply been higher than I may have ever imagined in so many alternative methods,” Hansen stated. “It has been an incredible blessing in my life.”
The parents on the Chicago Lighthouse inform us they’re completely happy to speak to different companies and authorities companies about establishing name facilities them.
They are saying the climate would not matter. It might be a snowstorm. Their staff are on the job, on time, desirous to work. As we speak, greater than 300 folks work the decision facilities and final 12 months, Chicago Lighthouse answered 6.5 million calls.
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