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Phalanx Family Services was founded by James Cannon. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping remove employment barriers for Chicago residents. The agency began working with low-income black communities since 2003 and continues to do so by continuing to seek funding for those needing assistance.
The organization’s prime objective is finding permanent solutions needed to reverse the decline of Chicago’s workforce. Services offered by Phalanx are available to all residents of Chicago and its outlying suburbs. By doing so, this provides assistance to those seeking opportunities in the job market and information about other beneficial programs available to assist them.
Phalanx provides programs ranging from job training to paid work experience and mentoring for youth and seniors. Phalanx partners with Mayor Rahm Emanual’s One Summer Chicago program, which offers those ages 14 to 24 employment and internship opportunities.
Another program Phalanx works with is Thrive Chicago, also referred to as Opportunity Youth (OY). Thrive serves a population of teens and young adults ages 16-24, who have dropped out of school, do not have high school diplomas, and those who are unemployed.
Phalanx collaborates with agencies such as the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Juvenile Intervention Support Center to provide classroom learning activities for school-age kids. Students have to opportunity to learn about anger management and develop coping mechanisms to give them a chance to get back on track for graduation.
Also available, is the service learning hours program for high school students. This coincides with secure job placement outside school hours.
Cannon views the program’s main function as a restorative process where they can offer instruction to people for on-the-job readiness before sending them to apply for employment. These include a series of classes to prepare for work interviews and learn about expectations found in a business environment.
In many cases when clients do not have access to their workplace. To overcome this barrier, Phalanx arranges for free public transit passes.
Ride to Work is a project for men and women re-entering society after incarceration. They are given an instant job placement opportunity. The program was designed because members of this population usually have little-to-no resources, which creates barriers to obtaining a job.
Overall, Phalanx has 27 programs and over a dozen services dedicated to improving the lives of “economically disadvantaged children and families in the pursuit of self-sufficiency,” according to the agency’s website.
Leading a team of dedicated Phalanx staff are CEO Mrs. Tina Sanders, President Gladstone Sanders, and the Director of Operations, Laura Bailey oversee the program and its relationships with other organizations and businesses. Moreover, they represent a not-for-profit organization that depends on secure funding sources and contributions.
Written by Brielle R. Buford
Edited by Cathy Milne
Interview: James Cannon; 8/16/2018
Image Courtesy of Gricelda Chandler – Used with Permission