May 18, 2008: Chicago United

May 19, 2008 2:12:31 PM PDT
Chicago United announced last week a new program to help minorities. A dozen Chicago United members, including Advocate Health Care, Com Ed/Exelon, Harris Bank, Macy's, Merrill Lynch, McDonald's, Mesirow Financial, and the University of Chicago Medical Center, will each establish or expand business ties with five minority firms. The program is called Five Forward Initiative, and the goal is to increase hiring and contracts with the minority firms, which would then hire more minorities.

Our guests on this NewsViews are Bridget Reidy, senior vice president at Exelon Energy. That's the parent firm of ComEd, which is a founding member of Chicago United. Our other guest is Albert Grace Jr., co-founder and president of Loop Capital. This minority firm was helped by Chicago United, has become a Chicago United member, and will now join this new program by helping other minority firms.

The latest unemployment statistics show the problem for minorities. April's national unemployment rate was 5 percent. Broken down, that's 4.4 percent for whites, 6.9 for Hispanics, and 8.6 percent for African-Americans. These are men and women who are looking for work, who want to earn a paycheck, pay taxes, and support themselves and their families, but sadly, cannot find a job. Chicago United wants to be part of a solution.

Chicago United hopes and expects more of its member firms to join this Five Forward Initiative diversity program.