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Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC) promotes strong communities, businesses, and households to ensure that people who work do not live in poverty. JARC’s Careers in Manufacturing Programs provide free job training and job placement services that help workers find employment in the manufacturing sector with skills in Computer Numerical Control (CNC), welding, and press brake operation. JARC also offers a Manufacturing Bridge program, which provides baseline skills in shop math, print reading, and precision measuring.

There are several trade programs available for adults, but JARC goes beyond basic skills training. Their programs provide not only free job training, but also free financial coaching to assist clients in their financial success. With a career in manufacturing, one can plan financial goals for the future.

“We like to say that those who enter our doors here at JARC, either their life fell apart and they lost their job, or they lost their job and their life fell apart,” says Katie Gonzalez, Director of Development, Data & Communications. “We’re here to provide a new career in the manufacturing sector to anyone who is interested and has a drive for starting in that field, and we’re providing this training for free.

“Free training in a lucrative field is one way JARC can fight systemic barriers to employment that unfairly block ambitious, hard-working prospective members of the workforce simply because they have encountered poverty.”

Many people who come into the program are interested in welding, but CNC and press brake also provide great career paths. The CNC track involves writing program codes and instructions used to run a machine controlled by a computer. These machines cut metal for making parts for everything from cars to airplanes. Press brake operators are responsible for manufacturing tools, metal, and equipment pieces using a press brake. Press brakes are machines designed to make punches, bends, and cuts into sheet or plate material, particularly sheet metal.

In addition to JARC’s Careers in Manufacturing programs, The Adult Learners Programs and Services (ALPS) program offers one-on-one and small group tutoring in reading, math, English as a Second Language (ESL), GED preparation, and computer classes. For many people who come to JARC, tutoring and computer classes are the first steps in a journey that leads to job training, employment, and self-sufficiency.

Aside from providing training and skills, JARC also provides wrap-around services such as transportation, employment and financial coaching, and emergency support services should clients face eviction or food insecurity. JARC has also provided laptops and other forms of technology support to clients living in the digital divide. Now is a difficult time for everyone, and JARC wants to make sure their clients have all of the tools and resources they need to be successful.

Manufacturers in the United States need to fill 4.6 million jobs by 2028. However, last year manufacturing businesses employed 8.5 percent of the U.S. workforce, but 89 percent of manufacturers report they cannot fill all job openings. There is a high demand for workers and these positions don’t require a four-year degree. Manufacturing jobs are also considered essential and anyone working in this field will continue working during COVID-19.

Thousands of JARC clients have achieved self-sustainability, and hundreds of businesses improve their competitiveness. In October of last year, JARC opened a new west side training center in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. The new training space is part of Freedman Seating, a long-time employer partner of JARC.

“We’re able to take advantage of the services that JARC offers and come away with workers that are ready to go, skilled and trained, so it’s been a win-win for JARC and for us,” says Craig Freedman, CEO of Freedman Seating.

JARC’s most recent accomplishment is their training classroom in the new Chatham Education & Workforce Center in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood, thanks to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. Their classroom is on the first floor of the center and includes the Manufacturing Bridge Program, as well as Mechanical Assembly, a new program.

Interested in JARC or know someone who might be? They are currently recruiting for their Ravenswood, Austin, and Chatham locations. Virtual application sessions are every Wednesday at 9 AM and 4 PM. Visit the schedule here.

Visit to learn more, and for any questions e-mail

Ravenswood location: 4432 N. Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Austin location: 976 N. Kilbourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60651
Chatham location: 640 E. 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60619

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