Open Door program off to strong start

In the June 2016 Update Magazine, The Chamber reported on the new Open Door Business Mentoring & Internship Program announced by Lincoln Land Community College and The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. It was reported that the program, funded by the Chamber’s Quantum Growth Economic Development Partnership (Q5), would begin this fall by connecting 20-30 African-American male LLCC students with local businesses and organizations.

The program successfully began in late August with the hiring of Michael Phelon as the program director. In less than six weeks, 26 students had entered the program with 28 local businesses and organizations (listed below) becoming partners in this joint venture. 

The Open Door Program provides a combination of academic guidance, business mentoring, and internships, ultimately leading to employment opportunities related to the career path the students discover and pursue. The program provides minority students the ability to “try on” various careers that exist within our community.

A little over two years ago, Hanson Professional Services, the City of Springfield and Sangamon County created a partnership called “Grow Our Own,” focused on providing minority students the opportunity to explore STEM-related careers, specifically engineering. According to Hanson Chairman and CEO Satch Pecori, “The program has been very well received and spurred interest in non-STEM related fields. The Open Door program expands into other career opportunities from banking and accounting to insurance, medical fields, IT and everything in between.” 

LLCC answered the call for expansion by creating the new program with funding provided by The Chamber’s Q5 Strategic Leadership Council. 

“We’re extremely excited about this endeavor and the potential it has to change the trajectory of students’ lives,” said Dr. Charlotte Warren, President of LLCC. “We envision it as transformational, a game-changer, opening up a world of new possibilities for participating students.” 

The Springfield and Sangamon County community is rich with talent and opportunity. This program seeks to bring the two together, providing career opportunities while addressing future workforce needs and keeping talented young people here in Springfield for years to come.

For more information or to participate, please contact Michael Phelon at (217) 786–3689, or by email at Michael.Phelon@llcc.edu

 

Participating Organizations:

Memorial Health System

Hanson Professional Services Inc.

Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc.

Bunn-O-Matic Corporation

The City of Springfield

Springfield Electric Supply Company

Town & Country Bank

The Horace Mann Companies

Bank of Springfield

Mid-West Family Broadcasting

Illinois National Bank

SIU School of Medicine

Lincoln Home National Historic Site    

Farmers Insurance Group

Troxell

State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez 

Springfield Police Department

Northwestern Mutual

U.S. Department of Justice

Go Hard Lawn & Service

Thermionics Corporation

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police

Troy Armstrong DJ Company

Feldman Wasser

Barbara Seidman of J. Hilburn

State Farm Insurance

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Central Illinois Community Blood Center