Description: The article refers to employee connection. The hostess will interview a shining star who is the founder of employee connections and let her share with us about why she became a shining star, why she created employee connections and how she helped those that need to be helped because of the low-income disadvantage.
I’m Chantel Taylor, welcome to another episode of shining stars, I am so excited to meet you today, Mrs. Cynthia Dockery Harris, the creator and founder of employee connections, Cynthia, thank you again for being willing to share with the world why you are a shining star, thank you.
I’m so happy to have you here today, because I’m so impressed when I not only read your biography, but see the fruit of your labor, when it comes to helping young people in the community, can you share with us employee connections, what is it in for connections?
We are a not-for-profit 501c3 employment education and training agency here in Lake County, we’re here to serve those that need to be helped the most low-income disadvantaged at-risk youth and adults.
One of the things that I noticed about employee connections is that you’re connected with the local Chamber of Commerce, you receive a lot of monetary grants that helped empower the agency that helps further along.
So many youth, can you share with us what made you stand out that for three times? I want everyone to know that this employee connections has received anonymous donations and significant amounts on three separate times, there’s been someone out there in the community that has given a lot of donations to this beautiful organization that’s helping so many young people and young adults across the northeastern area of Lake County.
What do you think made you stand out for that? The individuals that came on board as part of our team to give those nice donations, you saw the heartbeat here of employee connections that we wanted to give back to the community, we saw the need out here specifically by youth.
They do not want to work, they need opportunities to work, they mean skills, so we decided to be on the forefront that are providing those skills to employment education and training, because there are a lot of jobs here in Lake County.
But you’ll often hear employers saying that we have a job, so we don’t have the skilled individuals for those jobs sustainable employees and that’s what our focus is to reach back, bring our youth into the forefront here, for they we’re going to be competitive as well and getting these jobs.
One of the things they’ve stood out when I was reading about your company that started in 2008, but you’ve been around the Lake County community for years, in fact, it’s so outstanding the way you were in North Chicago high school graduate yourself went on to serve on the school board four consecutive terms and have put your heart into the community went on to work.
You did an outstanding job there and I know that many opportunities probably came for you to go other areas, but you chose to be a shining star here in Lake County and that’s why I’m here today to tell you thank you for being a wonderful shining star.
Because I noticed you’ve even traveled abroad in different continents, can you share with us how it is that you have the inspiration when you got out of college, you could have gone anywhere, you could have gone to any other city or state, but you chose to stay here and help, why did you do that and what’s your inspiration for that?
It probably goes back to my upbringing, my parents always gave back to the community, my father Alphonso is dark, your mother Mary and a curry, they did the same thing, so having that example before me inspired me to give back and I love the area in which I grew up.
It’s a great area and I believe that as you are blessed, you need to share your blessings with others, Saxon and you cannot believe and not reach back and remember those who blessed you so much, that’s true.
I was young once and I knew I needed opportunities and someone open up the doors and gave me opportunities, so in that respect, I feel as though it’s my honor to do that for the community excellent.
That is so beautiful, a young person comes here for age from 14 to 24, you offer classes, when it comes to you, you’ve mentioned sustainability and I know that you also do something with a computer, can you share what we’ve been doing with the grants and funding that we received.
We’ve been providing employment education training classes, job readiness skill training for the youth and adults as well and this is a requirement a lot of times of the grants that we offer in addition to that, this helps with your portfolio moving forward with their resumes.
So as they go to apply for a job and they have their resume, they can also have their credentials as well and this is part of the process to better them as potential employees, in addition to that, we’ve been able to do on a job training our programs where the steak recipe received, we’re able to connect youth and adults.
It may be about a three-month program or a six-month program, for instance, we did the Illinois, put Illinois to work program back in 2010-2011 where we put into subsidized jobs with 400 people, of which 413 % reached were retained in those positions after program intent.
In addition to that, we’ve done for the last four years or more Summer Youth Employment programs which on average we have 120 or 150 youth and summer programs here in East Lake Lake County.
After the program is over, a lot of them are retained in those positions, so it gives them an opportunity, we want them to get the opportunity to show that they can be sustainable employees, so what do the employers have?
They have free labor, so to speak for three months or so, to try out and see these individuals, we’ve got some great responses, some great success stories with the state and the state grant that we received for these Summer Youth Employment programs.
We’ve lowered up our sex stories to the state and they’ve said these are great, these are great, so those are some of the things that we do, in addition to that, we do a computer training with the Lake County Jail, so Sheriff’s Office, we have a computer training program where we go inside the jail every Friday, we provide computer training for the inmates there.
Our instructor is Terry or pastor Terry Ward to provide that training is very nice and we’ve also provided computer training going on-site for the salvation rehabilitation center here in Waukegan as well.
We provide a computer training courses for the 70-minute, so we partner in different areas where the need is very good, what makes you a shining star Cynthia in the community?
When I think about how employee connections has been in existence for a short seven years, when it comes to the resources and the wealth that has come into this agency to help households throughout Lake County, it’s amazing that you’re continuing to move forward.
I know this year is somewhat of a challenge because of Springfield and the different things that are happening in the vision coming straight from the governor’s office.
But can you share with us another thing that you’ve had seven years doing this and for the next seven years, can you share what it is that you see and what it is that you hope for the community.
When you do it, would you mind looking in the camera so that they can hear your heart? We want people to know what I would like to see happen in the community, a collaborative effort between our partners here, his service agencies which we’ve done a great job and the funny thing that come for us to continue to do that great job.
It’s a product supplying these services and programs that benefit those who need them the most, I hope that we get to a level where we branch out into other areas as well in Lake County and only provide this on a seasonal basis or when the grants come in, but be able to provide more individuals with these resources, that’s what my heart is to have a full service.
If you need clothing to prepare you for an interview, we have a clothing store here at no charge where you can get your clothes, if you need additional courses, everything is here in our shop that we can provide you or with one of our partners as well, we have wonderful partners here, we partner with the Community Action Partnership of Lake County black chamber commerce of Lake County Washington Township outstanding partners.
We’ve been able to reach back in the community and help those that need help and have some great success stories individuals that we’re not working, they’re working, they have many jobs careers to do these programs, they may be three or six month programs, but there’s in the economy, it’s boosted the economy significantly, when we get the grants to customers, consumers are able to spend their dollars here in Waukegan in Lake County North Chicago Zion.
So that’s a plus to our economy here in Lake County, you all were able to hear it front for yourself where you have a shining star, put her whole heart and life into resources that meet the needs of others with the employee connections, this is Chantal Taylor, shining stars signing off with Cynthia hair Cynthia Dockery Harris, we’re so happy to have the opportunity to meet her today.