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.
Memorial Health System
Hanson Professional Services Inc.
Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc.
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
State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez
Springfield Police Department
U.S. Department of Justice
Go Hard Lawn & Service
Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police
Troy Armstrong DJ Company
Barbara Seidman of J. Hilburn
State Farm Insurance
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Central Illinois Community Blood Center