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Bianca DeRango of JARC: Connecting Candidates to Quality Careers



This interview features Bianca DeRango, who served as the Senior Job Developer at Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC). Formerly with JARC, Bianca shares insights into JARC's mission of ensuring that people who work do not live in poverty. Read on to learn more about how JARC graduates are receiving wrap-around services and achieving long term success.



Tell me about your role and company.


I'm the Senior Job Developer at Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC). At JARC, we ensure that people who work do not live in poverty. To achieve that mission, we support communities, businesses, and households. We provide high quality skills training and support services to help lower-income and unemployed workers achieve self-sufficiency. We also provide economic and workforce development to businesses to improve their competitiveness.

If we can’t directly provide a solution, we will take the time to find a way! We aim to make sure that each person we support is as successful as possible.

Our Careers in Manufacturing Programs provide free job training courses in Computer Numerical Control (CNC), welding, and mechanical assembly. In my role, I connect trainees that have completed the program with employers that offer quality jobs.

It is important to us that our candidates secure positions in the manufacturing industry where they are earning living wages, and there is a pathway for advancement.



What makes working at JARC special or unique?


I started with JARC in 2020. Despite the uncertainty and turmoil that was present during that time, what drew me was seeing how much everyone truly cares. I've been in nonprofit environments that are rife with compassion fatigue, but that wasn't the case here. Instead, I found a community of people who are genuinely excited to support each other and the program participants that we serve.


As an organization, we offer a unique experience for our participants. We provide wrap-around supportive services: financial coaching, benefits enrollment assistance, legal referrals, and much more. If we can’t directly provide a solution, we will take the time to find a way! We aim to make sure that each person we support is as successful as possible.


What is JARC hoping to achieve in the next few years?


For the next few years, we are focusing our efforts on social inclusion, asking ourselves the central question: how can we do better as an organization in terms of equity? Our aim is to recruit and provide more opportunities for trainees of color, women, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We are also expanding our recruitment efforts to include the parents of trainees. This provides an opportunity to have a two-generational impact on a family and the larger community.


What’s the most common challenge employer partners come to you with?


There was a study done by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute that found that by 2028, there will be 2.4 million unfilled manufacturing jobs. Baby Boomers are retiring in droves, in what has been called the Gray Wave, creating a deep skills gap that many manufacturers are struggling to fill.

Our most successful partners demonstrate effort and intentionality in maintaining an ongoing relationship.

As a workforce development provider, we are upskilling existing employees and recruiting new people into the industry; however, we are also experiencing challenges. Following the pandemic, we saw a significant decline in enrollment and recruitment.


What kind of time commitment do you find is necessary from an employer to begin a successful partnership?


Once we make an initial connection with an employer partner, we begin building a relationship immediately. Typically, myself and an instructor will schedule an in-person meeting with the partner to get started. This allows us to understand exactly what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Once the connection is established, we begin recommending candidates.


Similarly, we take a hands-on and individual approach with each graduate. When I'm placing someone, I ask them what their ideal opportunity looks like. Then, I seek to find an employer partner who can provide what’s needed.


What types of employers are you looking to partner with?


We are looking to connect with manufacturing companies that are based in Chicago or are easily accessible by public transportation. This allows us to provide options for those trainees that do not have a car.


What are some common traits that you see with your most successful partners?


Our most successful partners demonstrate effort and intentionality in maintaining an ongoing relationship. We exchange time and resources in ways that are mutually beneficial. For example, some partners have offered facility tours and others have even hosted on-site hiring events specifically for our trainees. These opportunities provide valuable experiences for our graduates and strengthen our relationship.


Can you give examples of successful employer partnerships?


Success shows up in many ways. With one partner, we hosted a recruitment event at their location, which provided an opportunity for their current employees to join our program, gain new skills, and be eligible for a promotion with their existing employer. This was a win-win-win for the participants, our employer partner, and JARC.



We also love highlighting the individual successes that we see between our partners and our program participants. One particular story comes to mind, involving our partnership with Freedman Seating. We had a candidate who, before coming to JARC, struggled with finding stable work. In search of work, they came to Chicago, where someone happened to encourage them to join our welding program. The individual flourished in our program, and they received a job offer from Freedman Seating after graduating.

Hire candidates from JARC and other workforce development providers.

Unfortunately, they were unable to start the new position due to health issues. However, once they recovered, they came back to us, requesting our help with their job search. We reconnected them with Freedman Seating, and it's been great to see them start the position. They've experienced career growth at Freedman Seating, and they're happy to have career stability and great benefits.


What is one thing you hope employers that are reading this will walk away with?


Hire candidates from JARC and other workforce development providers. At JARC, we will work with you and your team to understand your requirements and expectations. We’ll provide candidates who have been vetted and trained and once hired, we continue to support our alumni with retention services to ensure their long-term success. And, this is all provided at no cost to the employer.




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