WBEZ | Front and Center: Work http://www.wbez.org/series/front-and-center-work Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Listeners seek advice from jobs experts http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-02/listeners-seek-advice-jobs-experts-94533 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-02/Great Lakes Earth.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This week <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> heard about the real-life challenges facing workers in the Great Lakes region as part of the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank"><em>Front and Center</em></a> series. Friday was listeners' chance to share how they were doing in this economy. <em>Eight Forty-Eight </em>asked listeners to share their experiences, whether they faced challenges finding work or making a career change.</p><p>Three experts in the field took calls, e-mails and tweets to help steer listeners toward resources or offer advice: Carrie Thomas is the associate director of the <a href="http://cjc.net/" target="_blank">Chicago Jobs Council</a>, Ray Bentley is the board liaison of the <a href="http://www.workforceboardsmetrochicago.org/contact/" target="_blank">Cook County Workforce Investment Board</a> and Elba Aranda-Suh is the director of the <a href="http://www.nlei.org/" target="_blank">National Latino Education Institute</a>. Listeners can call <strong>312-923-9239, </strong>e-mail the show at <strong><a href="mailto:848@wbez.org">848@wbez.org</a></strong> or tweet <strong><a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/848" target="_blank">@848</a></strong>.</p></p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 14:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-02/listeners-seek-advice-jobs-experts-94533 After accident, woman reinvents work for herself and her community http://www.wbez.org/content/after-accident-woman-reinvents-work-herself-and-her-community-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-02/Gloria instructs Travis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Perhaps no city in America has been hit as hard, or for as long, as Detroit. We’ve been hearing about unemployment, vacant lots and poverty coming out of the motor city for decades.&nbsp;So it might come as a surprise to hear that Detroiters are creating new and innovative ways of living and working in their city. </em></p><p><em>After an accident at an auto plant, Gloria Lowe became one such visionary, reinventing the way she approaches work and her community. Lowe spoke to producer Zak Rosen. The tape was edited by Rosen and transcribed below, with minor changes for clarity. </em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-22/Gloria%20Black%20and%20White%20Portrait.jpg" title="Gloria Lowe is a community organizer and founder of “We Want Green, Too.” (Photo courtesy of Amanda Le Claire)" height="400" width="600"></p><p>I worked in an automotive plant. I understand what it means to not be able to think. What that takes away from a person. Because, it took it away from me. They said just do the job, don’t think about the job.</p><p>I could not even give suggestions to building something. I’m the one who’s working there. I could not understand why you felt that I didn’t have valuable input for building this automobile that people like myself would buy. And it seems like such a small thing. But it really isn’t. Not when you’re building something.</p><p>I was a final line inspector. My job was to drive the cars outside the plant and park them in a certain area so then transportation would pick them up and load them on the trucks. This particular day, I had driven the car out and was walking back into the building and just as I was up under the automatic door, the bushing fell. The door came down, right on my end.</p><p>There was so much pain. Couldn’t sleep. Didn’t eat much. Delayed speech. Problems with my vision. Ringing in my ears. My body would go into contortions. On a lot of medication. The neurologist that I saw told me that I had left side nerve damage from the top of my brain down through my feet.</p><p>It took about two, two-and-a-half years for me to come back around. I felt so blessed to have been given an opportunity to live again<strong>. </strong>But I was told by my doctors that I would never work again, that all of that was complete in my life. I was only 50 years old. I didn’t know what it meant not to work.</p><p>I do remember that there was an awakening that happened inside of my soul that when I came up out of this, I no longer had the same concerns. I understood what love was unconditionally because it had been given to me. And all I could do was return it.</p><p><strong>A new day</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-22/Gloria%20Preparing%20Presentation.jpg" style="width: 275px; height: 183px; float: left; margin: 2px 10px;" title="Gloria Lowe prepares for a discussion at the recent “Reimagining Work Conference” in Detroit. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Le Claire)">I’m usually up at 6:30, 7:00 a.m., stop at the Tim Horton’s, always get me one coffee, oftentimes with a bagel. And I do the Michigan turnaround and enter Belle Isle. Belle Isle is the blessing we have in Detroit, an island that is attached to us that separates the United States from Canada. And it’s surrounded by all this beautiful water and boats, which I love. And I go there and I meditate and I think.</p><p>I woke up this morning with this thought about language. In the news you hear, ‘the poverty stricken, citizens of Detroit, oh the devastated communities, it’s so desolate and homelessness is everywhere and despair.’ That was enough to make you feel bad. What if it read, ‘the spiritually rich citizens of Detroit, experiencing abandoned homes, have now decided to embrace, with love and hope their communities and rebuild for a future’. That sounds different.</p><p>Spiritually it’s said that nothing positive can come out of a negative. If we embrace transformation, I’m not sure that’s true. The ability to recreate is always with us.</p><p><strong>The ability to recreate</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-22/Gloria%20Looking%20Into%20Window.JPG" style="width: 275px; height: 183px; float: left; margin: 2px 10px;" title="Gloria Lowe envisions the next step for rebuilding the home she grew up in. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Le Claire)">I’m founder of “We Want Green, Too.” Our mission is to re-educate, retrain and rebuild a 21st century, sustainable Detroit. We are looking to construct various teams in the basic skills: dry walling, painting, floor repair.</p><p>Right now we’re working out of shelters and the Detroit Veterans Administration building, a connection we have with homeless vets. We work with young people who are underemployed, people who have overcome their substance abuse, as well as those who have been incarcerated.</p><p>We have very good housing stock in the city. And these houses, many of them date back to the early 1900s and late 1800s, it would cost you a fortune to try and build a house today with the same quality of material. So we know that the greenest house is the house that’s already there. All you do is take the time to rebuild it.</p><p>Every house in Detroit has a foundation. So where you have people who are challenged, they don’t have jobs. Why not make their jobs restructuring their own communities?</p><p>I don’t think that prior to my accident I would have understood the value of working from our hearts through our minds, through our hands. What it does in terms of helping to recreate a humanity that’s been taken away from us.</p><p>The work I’m doing now, it’s phenomenal. There’s not a price tag I could hang on it. And I know that ‘cause I’ve been on the other side.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-22/Gloria%20instructs%20Travis.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" title="Gloria Lowe instructs her apprentice, Travis Rushon. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Le Claire)"></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/after-accident-woman-reinvents-work-herself-and-her-community-0 Canada puts immigration at the center of its economic policy http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-01/canada-puts-immigration-center-its-economic-policy-94499 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-01/canadaimmigrationtwob[1].jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Canada has been focused on attracting skilled immigrants for decades as a central part of its economic development strategy. Brian Mann has been on the road all week looking at work force development strategies among our neighbors to the north for <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank">Front and Cente</a>r. On Thursday, he reported from a city just north of Toronto; Vaughan is becoming one of Canada’s thriving new immigrant clusters.</em></p><p>It’s just after lunch and Natalia Gotina’s students are filing in, getting ready for the day’s English lesson.&nbsp; She says people turn up speaking every language imaginable.</p><p>"It’s Russian language, Moldavian, Mandarin…Albanian," she says.</p><p>Gotina arrived from Belarus a decade ago. She teaches at one of five new Immigrant Welcome Centre that have opened in neighborhoods and bedroom cities around Toronto.&nbsp;<br>It’s all paid for by Canada’s Federal government.&nbsp;&nbsp; The classes, the daycare for kids, the computer training and job counseling — it's all free for newcomers like Susannah who arrived last August from Albania.</p><p>"The course is helping me a lot about my language and I think in my future too it is very helpful for me," she says.</p><p>The goal here isn’t just to teach English.&nbsp; Canada uses its immigration system to identify people like Susannah who already have specific job skills — in healthcare, engineering, computer science — that can be plugged in to the economy.</p><p>"I am pharmacist back home and they are helping to find a way for my profession here in Canada."</p><p>This is very different from the US, where the vast majority of legal immigration is based on family connections, not on a person’s professional background or training.</p><p>"We’ve instituted a managed, point-based immigration system," explains Mario Calla, head of the regional non-profit called COSTI Immigrant Services that runs these welcome centers for the government.</p><p>Canada’s system, he says, actually grades every person who applies for the equivalent of a green card.</p><p>People are given points on everything from health to wealth to education and professional achievement.&nbsp; If you don’t score high enough, you don’t get in.&nbsp;</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><p><strong>Follow Brian Mann’s road trip:</strong></p><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers in U.S. vs. Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/canadian-workers-comforted-social-safety-net-94414">Comparing social safety nets</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-30/canada-boosts-recession-era-prosperity-government-jobs-new-borrowing-944">Government jobs on both sides of the border</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>"Canadians understand that while these people coming from other countries may be very different from us, they’re coming with great talents and skills."</p><p>Canada accepts about a quarter million legal immigrants a year.&nbsp; That’s nearly one percent of the country’s total population arriving every twelve months.</p><p>That level of immigration enjoys broad political support, in part because Canada is facing the same</p><p>demographic dilemma that now plagues American cities and small towns around the Great Lakes region.</p><p>"People aren’t having as many children as they were before.&nbsp; And the work force is growing older.&nbsp; We’ve got a burgeoning seniors population."</p><p>Jeff Garrah runs the Economic Development Corporation in Kingston, a small city on the shore of Lake Ontario — about three hours east of Vaughan.</p><p>If it weren’t for newcomers, Garrah says, Canadian cities would be hollowing out and shrinking, just like many American cities.</p><p>He helped create a group that works actively to convince immigrants to make their new life in Kingston.</p><p>"We have to have a very aggressive immigration policy to replace those jobs, particularly those high skilled jobs," Garrah argues.</p><p>No one here thinks Canada’s immigration system is perfect. Especially during the recession, a lot of newcomers – even those with marketable skills — struggled to find work.</p><p>And critics like Sayed Hassan with an immigrant advocacy group called “No One Is Illegal” says the emphasis on job skills leaves too many really needy people out in the cold.</p><p>"I mean if you look at the number of refugees coming into Canada as a percentage of its population, it’s slightly below that of the United States. And yet Canada says it has the most generous refugee system in the world."</p><p>And there has been tension as more and more newcomers arrive from non-European countries. Ibrahim Absiye came from Somalia as a refugee twenty years ago.</p><p>"We came in big numbers and we came with a different look of skin.&nbsp; We came with a different religion.&nbsp; So there were some barriers to break through," he recalls.</p><p>These days, Absiye runs another immigrant help center called Culturelink.&nbsp; He says there are flare-ups of racism and cultural misunderstandings.&nbsp;&nbsp; But he says Canada’s reputation as a truly open and diverse society is no myth.</p><p>"I think Canada is known for being one of the most welcoming communities in the world…and especially here in Ontario and especially here in Toronto, the community is welcoming to the newcomers."<br>These days, half of Toronto’s population is foreign-born – that’s a higher percentage than in New York City or Miami.</p><p>Here in Vaughan, the foreign-born population jumped by more than forty percent over the last decade, making this one of the fastest-growing cities in the Great Lakes region.</p><p>Matthew Mendelson, with Canada’s Mowat Center for Policy Innovation, says he thinks these multicultural hubs will drive his country's next economic boom.</p><p>"Particularly Toronto has been successful at attracting high quality, talented immigrants from around the world but particularly Asia and emerging economies – creating clusters and concentrations of talented people."</p><p>One important footnote to all this is the fact that Canada has developed its immigration system without facing the pressure of a huge wave of illegal immigration like the one that’s been so controversial in the US.</p><p>By most estimates, Canada has fewer than 200,000 undocumented workers.</p><p>In the last decade — as Canada and US have worked to synchronize border security — officials here have moved more aggressively to track down and deport people who enter the country illegally.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Join </em>Eight Forty-Eight<em> Friday for </em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank">Front and Center’s</a><em> live call-in show, which will dedicate the entire hour to a discussion about challenges facing the Great Lakes’ workforce. The shows guests will be people both running and enrolling in retraining programs. Are you unemployed? Got a plan to restart your career? Want tips? Join the conversation Friday at 9 a.m.</em><br>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 15:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-01/canada-puts-immigration-center-its-economic-policy-94499 Detroit international bridge project going nowhere http://www.wbez.org/story/detroit-international-bridge-project-going-nowhere-94300 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-28/The Ambassador Bridge.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>The busiest international crossing in the United States is in Detroit. Each year more than $200 billion worth of trade crosses the border there.</em><em> Those trucks drive across the Ambassador Bridge--which is privately owned. </em><em>The bridge is old and congested. Michigan politicians want to construct a new, state-of-the-art bridge. They say it will help increase trade and create jobs but the new bridge has a powerful opponent.</em></p><p>I recently visited Windsor, Canada, just across the river from Detroit.</p><p>I took the Ambassador Bridge, a busy overpass that truckers often use to transport auto parts.</p><p>But I crossed the river with a friend to dine on veal shank at a swank restaurant.</p><p>On the way back, my companion rolled down the window to answer questions from a Canadian customs officer.</p><p>Officer: Where are you coming from?</p><p>Friend: Little Italy, Windsor.</p><p>Officer: What brings you here from Chicago?</p><p>Friend: Vacationing</p><p>The Detroit River separates Windsor, Ontario from the Motor City. Without traffic, it’s a three-minute drive on the blue, 82-year-old bridge. From both sides, there’s a glittering view of each city’s downtown.</p><p>But during rush hour, the logjam for commercial trucks can exceed 90 minutes.</p><p>Lawmakers say a proposed New International Trade Crossing would mitigate that traffic. Ford Motor Co., for example, has 600 trucks that cross this river every day. The company says the delays from sitting in traffic hurt its business.</p><p>And bridge proponents tout that a new bridge could bring tens of thousands of jobs – just the economic medicine a fiscally battered Michigan needs.</p><p>I head to Southwest Detroit, the part of town where the proposed bridge would be constructed. Café Con Leche is a coffee shop and community gathering space. &nbsp;</p><p>Rashida Tlaib represents this area in the Michigan House. She’s elated at the prospect of a new bridge.</p><p>TLAIB: What’s wonderful about this project is that it’s not like resurfacing a road and putting 50 people to work. It’s 30,000 people and 20,000 of the 30,000 are most likely going to be permanent jobs. That’s amazing. And it’s going to be an infrastructure that keeps giving and giving and giving and giving.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/greatlakesjobs"><span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);"><strong>GRAPH: </strong></span><strong>Great Lakes, great source for jobs?</strong></a></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars-94303">Using sound to find leaks and save dollars</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A new bridge would have toll booths, a customs plaza and to some, hopefully, bring ancillary businesses at the landing: warehouses, gas stations, restaurants.</p><p>Michigan, like the rest of the region, needs to upgrade infrastructure for the 21<sup>st</sup> century. Detroit has a huge, ready labor pool. Tlaib says building the new bridge could put those people back to work.</p><p>TLAIB: My God, there are steelworkers who haven’t been put to work in two years. How can we turn our backs to free money to putting people to work in tolling and revenue?</p><p>The money she refers to is half a billion dollars that Canada has promised to pony up to construct the new bridge. The total project is $2 billion, a mix of federal money and bonds, which would be repaid through tolls. The state insists the project would involve very little of its money.</p><p>All of the automakers support a new bridge. Politicians on both sides of the aisle do, too…including Republican Gov. Rick Synder.</p><p>So what’s holding it up?</p><p>VOICEOVER AD: Republicans and Democrats agree: Michigan’s potholed roads and crumbling bridges are a mess. Dangerous to our families and hurting our economy. But Rick Synder has a higher priority than fixing our local roads. Rick Synder wants to build a bridge to Canada instead. Special interests and contractors want the money. Synder wants a monument.</p><p>That ad was paid for by Matty Moroun, the reclusive, billionaire owner of the 82-year-old Ambassador Bridge.</p><p>He’s waged an aggressive television campaign against a new bridge and continues to stand in the way of its approval. A new bridge would ostensibly compete with his toll revenues.&nbsp; Moroun, who is a year older than the Ambassador Bridge, has made his fortune in the trucking business.&nbsp; In his battle, he has given campaign contributions to Michigan lawmakers who have voted repeatedly in committee to block it. Meanwhile, a judge recently found Moroun in contempt for failing to finish a project to improve bridge traffic. The Moroun family declined to comment for this story.</p><p>The new bridge that everyone is talking about would be a couple of miles from Moroun’s bridge. It would be in Delray – a Southwest Detroit neighborhood seething with poverty, pollution and peril. Simone Sagovach is driving me around the neighborhood. I see burned-out homes, smell a wastewater treatment plant and feel a sense of despondency.</p><p>SAGOVACH: Historically, it was a multiethnic community, largely a Hungarian base. Today it’s still multiethnic. But the demographics have changed. It’s largely minority – African-American and Latino. We also have Arab population here. And mostly people are poor.</p><p>That’s why Sagovach is part of a coalition pushing for a community benefits agreement if a new bridge is built. So far 500 people have signed onto the community benefits agreement, calling for air-quality protection and home improvement dollars, too.</p><p>SAGOVACH: Some people are looking to the potential of the bridge development to either be something to lift up the community, finally bring some reinvestment, some jobs that people can walk to--maybe on the plaza. Maybe there will be jobs related to the border infrastructure.</p><p>Back in downtown Detroit, the business community is cohesive in its support of a new bridge. Sandy Baruah is president of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Ambassador Bridge is visible from his bay windows.</p><p>BARUAH: This bridge--the New International Trade Crossing would be a key infrastructure project not just for Detroit, not just for Michigan but for this entire region, which includes Ohio, which includes Windsor, Canada.</p><p>Part of Baruah’s role is attracting businesses to Southeastern Michigan. He says if there’s a bridge he could go to manufacturers and international companies and tell them he can guarantee them ease of access between the U.S. and Canada.</p><p>Right now he doesn’t have that selling point. And it’s a challenge.</p><p>Jack Lessenberry is a professor at Wayne State University. Lessenbery says Governor Synder may eventually have to circumvent the Michigan legislature to get the bridge approved by perhaps using a bond authority.</p><p>Getting the bridge built is just that crucial.</p><p>LESSENBERRY: It would prepare Michigan to compete for the economy of the 21<sup>st</sup> century. If this built doesn’t get built, Detroit would be further cut out of the economic action.</p><p>While it waits for the bridge, there are two other border states that might like to take its place: Ohio and New York.</p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 13:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/detroit-international-bridge-project-going-nowhere-94300 Canada boosts recession-era prosperity with government jobs, new borrowing http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-30/canada-boosts-recession-era-prosperity-government-jobs-new-borrowing-944 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-30/Brian Mann Ontario.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This week, the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank"><em>Front and Center</em></a> series looked at how workers in the Great Lakes region have been weathering the recession. Brian Mann of <a href="http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/" target="_blank">North Country Public Radio</a> has been traveling in Ontario, comparing the lot of Canadians and Americans. One of the biggest differences he observed was in government jobs. This week the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a> reported deep cuts to the public sector in the U.S. That trend hit black communities in cities from Chicago to Cleveland particularly hard. However, big government cut backs had not yet taken place north of the border.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><p><strong>Follow Brian Mann’s road trip:</strong></p><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers in U.S. vs. Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/canadian-workers-comforted-social-safety-net-94414">Comparing social safety nets</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-30/canada-boosts-recession-era-prosperity-government-jobs-new-borrowing-944">Government jobs on both sides of the border</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 30 Nov 2011 15:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-30/canada-boosts-recession-era-prosperity-government-jobs-new-borrowing-944 Training Chicago's workforce http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-30/training-chicagos-workforce-94450 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-30/IMAG0837.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Reporter Jocelyn Frank shared Deidre Hosek's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/community-college-partners-private-business-fill-jobs-94440" target="_blank">story</a> as an example of how public-private partnerships have helped people find work in Michigan but <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> asked, what about Chicago? Elizabeth Weigensberg, a senior researcher at the <a href="http://www.chapinhall.org/" target="_blank">University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall</a>, has been checking out various training and education programs available in the city. As part of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank"><em>Front and Center's</em></a> look at how workers in the Great Lakes region have been faring, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke with Weigensberg.</p><p>Weigensberg referred to the <a href="http://www.chicagolandwiatraining.com/site.lasso" target="_blank">Chicago Workforce Investment Council’s database</a> of training programs in Chicago.</p></p> Wed, 30 Nov 2011 15:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-30/training-chicagos-workforce-94450 Community college partners with private business to fill jobs http://www.wbez.org/content/community-college-partners-private-business-fill-jobs-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-29/Photo_MichiganPubPrivate_JocelynFrank.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>As the Great Lakes region continues to face high rates of unemployment, many manufacturing workers find themselves laid off and lacking credentials to find new work. State-funded agencies are teaming up with community colleges and private businesses to help get workers back into jobs. The strategy is called public-private partnership and has support from several governors in the region and even President Obama.</p><p>In Marshall, Mich., Deidre Hosek is a big fan of the approach. It threw her a lifeline when she was laid off in 2007.</p><p><strong>Meet Deidre Hosek</strong><br><br>Hosek is a regular at the Riverside bar, just a few blocks off the main street of Marshall. It’s an easy to miss location. The smoky gray wooden façade has no outward facing windows, but step inside and two TVs and a jukebox light up the room. Hosek sits alongside six others sipping Miller Lite. She’s about 5'5" with long brown hair, solid confidence, and a bold, raspy laugh.<img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-29/Photo_MichiganPubPrivate_JocelynFrank.JPG" style="width: 275px; height: 206px; margin: 2px 10px; float: left;" title="Using her training from the local community college, Diedra Hosek works at Tenneco Automotive as a welder. (Photo courtesy of Calhoun Michigan Works)"></p><p>This is her place to unwind. She remembers growing up in Marshall with big ideas about what it would mean to be an adult and work a regular job.</p><p>“I remember when I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, a singing star,” Hosek said, adding that at Riverside bar she gets to be a singer now and then, “that’s why I try and come down here. One of my neighborhood buddies runs the open mic.”</p><p>Hosek raised two kids in Marshall and, like many of her neighbors and friends, she worked for the auto industry. In her case, it was as a prototype technician working with vinyl, plastics, and leathers at the Lear Corporation. It was a solid living wage but when times got tough the company downsized and moved operations out of state, Hosek was left in a lurch.</p><p>“If I wanted to move out of state, I could have gone to another Lear plant,” she said. “But all of my family is here, and I have no desire to leave my family."</p><p><strong>Living unemployed</strong></p><p>Instead of leaving, Hosek and her family lived off her 401(k) for two years. Eventually, she found a gig working overnight at the Shell gas station convenience store. A customer there tipped her off that the state-funded agency Michigan Works was interviewing candidates for factory work in town. She raced over to apply.</p><p><strong>Never welded before</strong></p><p>Fast-forward four years and Deidre Hosek is a welder at Tenneco, an international auto-parts manufacturer. In Marshall, they make mufflers. The first thing she needed to learn was how to fuse two pieces of metal together to make a bead.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers faring better in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars-94303">Using sound to find leaks and save dollars</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><div>“I’d never run a bead before in my life,” Hosek said, laughing. “The closest I’d come to running a bead was a caulk around my sink."<br><p>Even with her lack of experience, Michigan Works was confident she could succeed. Hosek became one of thousands of people in Michigan to benefit from public-private programs to help the workers find jobs locally.</p><p><strong>How it works, the private side</strong></p><p>A company like Tenneco needs highly skilled welders. The plant manager at Tenneco in Marshall, Randy Rial, says it’s not that easy to find them.</p><p>“Many people can weld but when the people come in here and say I can weld anything, but this is different. We work very fast at very high heat,” &nbsp;Rial explained. “They come in here and it’s very difficult to learn.”</p><p>In 2007 the company started welding with a new, very thin, very expensive metal. Their welders failed, over and over. It cost the company a lot of money. Rial remembers that was a time when many other factories were closing their doors.</p><p>“Eaton closed down, Lear closed down, a lot of other plants closed down,” Rial remembered.&nbsp; “We have to do everything we can do to be competitive in the global market.”</p><p><strong>How it works, the public side</strong></p><p>Training specialized welders is difficult and expensive so the public side of the partnership plays a big role. George Bauer is a representative of the state-funded Michigan Works Association. He's been on the front lines of the recession.</p><p>“Michigan was in it before everyone else and we’re hoping we won't be the last to come out of it,” Bauer said.</p><p>Bauer’s witnessed the bloodletting-- with 40, 50, 100 local workers laid-off at one time. He talks to workers to prepare them for inevitably hard times ahead, but if he can, Bauer prefers to step in before a company downsizes or leaves town. When Bauer learned about the challenges at Tenneco, he called a meeting right away and made the company an offer.</p><p>“Our deal with the company was that if we’re paying for the training, you’ll guarantee to hire them at the end,” Bauer said.</p><p>Tenneco agreed to hire new welders. To do the actual training, Michigan Works tapped Kellogg Community College in the nearby town of Battle Creek.</p><p><strong>The flexibility of community colleges</strong></p><p>Dennis Bona is the president of Kellogg Community College. He’s learned the key to the succeeding with the business world is flexibility.</p><p>“We tailor instruction to fit what employer needs. We know there are no careers we train once for,” Bona explained. “Tenneco came to us and said we need 60 welders trained and we need them soon.”</p><p>So Bona and Kellogg Community College worked with Tenneco to design and supply a quick 8-week program with something called open-exit, open-entry. That meant students didn’t have to wait for a new semester for classes to begin. And that responsiveness meant Tenneco saved money.</p><p>In the end Tenneco hired over 60 welders, and the relationship between the college and the company continued. Bona said Kellogg has trained and educated about 1000 Tenneco employees. They work with 150 other companies across southern Michigan.</p><p><strong>Deidre Hosek turns into a welder</strong></p><p>The partnership between Michigan Works, Kellogg, and Tenneco gave the company some additional support to stay in town and hire in town. In 2007, that was a godsend for Deidre Hosek. She was struggling to find well-paid work.</p><p>“There was nothing," Hosek said. "I didn’t think finding a job would be that difficult.”</p><p>She didn’t have a college degree or other technical training to lean on, but with the public-private education plan in place she was able to jump right in and start something completely new.</p><p>&nbsp;“I had no idea I would go back to school, but it was just boom boom boom,” she said of the training. “We had the classroom time and the actual hands-on welding time...that was fun.”</p><p><strong>Staying in the community</strong></p><p>With a steady paycheck now in her pocket, Deidre Hosek can afford to stop by Riverside for open-mic night and unwind with her longtime friends.</p><p>“I like being where everybody knows your name," she said. "You’re not just a number.”</p><p>Eight-weeks (the length of her training course) and four years later, Hosek is proud to be a welder. But at the Riverside bar, standing in the spotlight with her neighborhood buddies cheering her on, belting out Marshall Tucker lyrics during the open-mic night, sometimes she still feels a little like a singing star.</p></div><p><em>A correction has been made to this story. An earlier version misspelled the Lear Corporation.</em></p></p> Wed, 30 Nov 2011 13:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/community-college-partners-private-business-fill-jobs-0 Canadian workers comforted by social safety net http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/canadian-workers-comforted-social-safety-net-94414 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-29/torontopic.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>All week, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank"><em>Front and Center</em></a> looked at the real-life challenges facing workers in the Great Lakes region.</p><p>As part of that conversation, <a href="http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/" target="_blank">North Country Public Radio’s</a> Brian Mann has been on the road talking to people on the Canadian side of the border. It turned out, workers living just a few miles away in Canada, have experienced the recession very differently than workers in the U.S.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><p><strong>Follow Brian Mann’s road trip:</strong></p><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers in U.S. vs. Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/canadian-workers-comforted-social-safety-net-94414">Comparing social safety nets</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-30/canada-boosts-recession-era-prosperity-government-jobs-new-borrowing-944">Government jobs on both sides of the border</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>While Chicago and Detroit struggled and lost population, Toronto and Montreal continued to grow--they have even added jobs through the recession. Workers who do lose their jobs in Canada find a much more comprehensive social safety net. Mann joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> on the line from Toronto.</p><p>Wednesday, Mann will explore Canada's approach to workforce education and retraining in the Great Lakes region.</p></p> Tue, 29 Nov 2011 15:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/canadian-workers-comforted-social-safety-net-94414 Great Lakes' workers faring better on Canadian side of the border http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-28/the first is a street scene from kingston, credit brian mann.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank"><em>Front and Center</em></a> continues this week with a look across the Canada-U.S. border. One of the questions being asked is why communities on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes region seemed to be faring so much better economically than cities and workers on the U.S. side. Unemployment on the Canadian side of the lakes was around 8 percent in Ontario and 7.7 percent in Quebec; governors of U.S. states in the Great Lakes region would probably kill for those rates. In fact, Ontario and Quebec actually added jobs during the recession.</p><p>Furthermore, workers who did end up losing their positions could expect to be out of work for only half as long as their American counterparts.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><p><strong>Follow Brian Mann’s road trip:</strong></p><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers in U.S. vs. Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/canadian-workers-comforted-social-safety-net-94414">Comparing social safety nets</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-30/canada-boosts-recession-era-prosperity-government-jobs-new-borrowing-944">Government jobs on both sides of the border</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>Brian Mann is with <a href="http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/">North Country Public Radio</a> in New York and he will join <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> this week to talk about business on both sides of the border. He will be traveling from the St. Lawrence River in the east all the way to Detroit in the west. Brian was in Kingston, Ontario Monday and he was next headed to Toronto.</p></p> Mon, 28 Nov 2011 15:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389 The Great Lakes region: Facing the future http://www.wbez.org/story/great-lakes-region-facing-future-94200 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-18/Great Lakes Earth.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It is often said there is strength in numbers.&nbsp; In this global age, cities, states and countries are learning they can often accomplish more by working together.&nbsp; But balkanization, competition and lack of coordination often prevent genuine cooperation.</p><p>The eight American states and two Canadian provinces that form the Great Lakes region are struggling economically despite having vast natural resources, great cities and world-class universities.&nbsp; Some experts are convinced that overcoming our local and regional differences and pooling our talent, markets and resources could be the key to securing the region's economic future.&nbsp;</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><br><ul><li><strong><a href="/story/facing-future-political-realities-working-across-borders-94249">Political realities of cooperation across borders</a></strong><br>&nbsp;</li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/imadeajob"><strong><span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);">INTERACT: </span>Made a job? Tell us about it</strong></a></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p><strong>Tune in to <em>Facing the Future</em> on November 21<sup>st</sup>at 2 p.m. Central Time </strong>to hear some of the region's best minds debate whether a unified Great Lakes region is possible, what it would look like and what it could mean for our lives and livelihoods.</p><p>We invite listeners from across the region to join in our discussion and, most importantly, share their ideas about what it will take to secure a better future for ourselves and our children.</p><p>Listen to the broadcast here:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483822-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-november/2011-11-23/111121-facing-future-broadcast-air-check.mp3">&nbsp;</audio><p><strong><a href="/story/facing-future-political-realities-working-across-borders-94249">Related: Hear the conversation with Scott Reske and Carol Coletta about the political realities of cooperating across borders. </a></strong></p></p> Mon, 21 Nov 2011 10:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/great-lakes-region-facing-future-94200