The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) provides support in many different areas of work, using relationships within their community to determine the organization’s areas of focus and to work with community stakeholders to build power and develop strong leaders. One of these efforts is SWOP’s Job and Economic Development work which connects residents on the Southwest Side of Chicago with free career training opportunities enabling them to pursue self-sufficient lives. The organizers assigned to these roles provide career advising, career pathway training, work readiness training, leadership development and barrier reduction services.
Omar Barron is a 27-year-old community member that lives in Gage Park and is one of the most recent participants to go through SWOP’s job training. Omar had stated that he had been idly scrolling through Facebook when he saw the flyer for the Peoples Gas job opportunity on SWOP’s page and later that day, his sister, having seen the same flyer through social media, sent it to Omar. “It was almost like it was fate. I thought it might have been a little too good to be true, so I just ignored it the first time, but once my sister sent it to me, I thought I would give it a chance”, Omar shared. He had also stated that one of the biggest reasons he went through with it was because he admired how hard his sister had been working to get through college and he wanted to show that he could work hard as well to make himself and his family proud.
Omar shared his experience of meeting with SWOP Employment Organizer, Quabeeny Daniels and how he walked him through the process step by step. “He gave me a call and said that he was interested in helping me pursue the Peoples Gas job opportunity. We reviewed the job description together and then he helped me rebuild my resume.” Omar continued, “Once Peoples Gas expressed an interest in getting an interview with me, Quabeeny started to prep me. We did mock interviews, he walked me through the different questions they might have had and by the end of it, I felt so confident in all the preparation we had done that I couldn’t help but be eager for the real interview.”
Through Omar’s hard work and the help of SWOP’s organizer, he was happy to report his success in being hired for a position in Peoples Gas and showed an eagerness to begin work. “I’m honestly so grateful to SWOP and especially Q for walking me through this. I want to get in there, work as hard as I can and work my way into higher positions.” When asked about his work, Quabeeny shared that he recognizes how stressful it can be to find a job and how all the expectations and requirements can make some people feel as though they aren’t deserving of the opportunities in front of them and that’s why he does the work. “I want to see my community grow, I want to ease minds and I want people to want more for themselves when they come seeking our help.” Quabeeny said