John Pfeiffer, executive director of the Inspiration Corporation which helps those affected by poverty, said his organization copied McDonald's career development model for their "Inspiration University."
Pfeiffer said he was "delighted" to hear about McDonald's National Hiring Day. Just 25 miles away from McDonald's Corporation headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., Inspiration Corporation is based in Chicago. The unemployment rate in the Windy City is about 9.4 percent, according to the Illinois Employment Security Department's figure for January. The national unemployment rate is 8.8 percent.
Pfeiffer said communities in the surrounding areas, including around Garfield Park, may have an unofficial unemployment rate as high as 20 to 30 percent, including people who have dropped out of searching for employment. Many of the people the Inspiration Corporation works with also face multiple barriers to finding a job, including homelessness, incarceration or lack of skills, according to Pfeiffer.
"An entry level job is a way into the labor market," Pfeiffer said. "For us, the first step is a very important step. For many people, the first barrier can feel insurmountable. We could break that cycle."