Friday, August 22, 2014

Greenline Coffee Aims to Grow Jobs in Chicago's Woodlawn Neighborhood

This month, Sunshine Gospel Ministries opened Greenline Coffee, a new high-end coffee shop in the disadvantaged Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side.

Sunshine hopes the new coffee shop combined with its business incubator, Sunshine Enterprises, will start growing jobs in the neighborhood with traditionally high rates of unemployment. 


Greenline hires young adults from the neighborhood who have completed the Sunshine Summer Jobs Training program.

Sunshine's Executive Director,  Joel Hamernick, explained in an interview in DNAinfo Chicago his thoughts behind the creation of Greenline:

He said two years ago, he and others at the nonprofit were frustrated that five years of teaching kids entrepreneurial skills had not produced a single business in the neighborhood.

He said they switched to asking some of their supporters for investments instead of donations and started thinking about how many jobs a coffee shop would create in the glazed-brick building. 
Greenline Coffee has 12 employees, many of them from Sunshine’s summer jobs program.
“We have another 12 waiting for one of them to screw up so they can have their job,” Paula Hamernick said. 
She said the coffee shop got 200 applications before it opened and receives several requests for applications every day. “People aren’t poor because they want to be, it’s because there are no jobs,” Hamernick said. “Every day we have people coming in begging for a job.” 
In October, Sunshine will open a co-working space next door to the coffee shop to jump-start more businesses in Woodlawn. 
Joel Hamernick said the goal is for Sunshine to be working with 200 businesses within three years, with 45 new businesses and 60 jobs created every year. 
He admitted it was an ambitious pace, but said as soon as the coffee shop is breaking even, they will start on the next business.
Read more here.

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