Civic Committee's public safety plan includes thousands of jobs for intervention program graduates

Sarah Schulte Image
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Civic Committee outlines plan to combat Chicago violence
The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago outlined its plan to combat Chicago violence.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two years ago, a Discover call center moved into the city's Chatham neighborhood with the goal of bringing over 1,000 jobs to the South Side.

One went to TJ Krane. The account specialist was born and raised in Englewood.

"The real work is putting these jobs here, putting these brick and mortar locations up to make sure people have somewhere to go to work that is local, so we don't have to travel so far," Krane said.

Krane said most of her coworkers live 5-10 minutes away. The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago said the Discover call center is a prime example of how the business community can help curb crime. For the first time in its 146 year history, the business leaders' organization is making public safety its number one priority.

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"You need business. You need industry. You need nonprofits, philanthropy government, all around one table working on a common plan," said Civic Committee President Derek Douglas.

Douglas said his plan is a one-table approach with a set of five commitments. The first is providing more financial resources to violence intervention groups that have proven success.

"They are working with 20% of population right now. We need to get that to 75-80%," Douglas said.

Douglas said the next goal is providing wrap-around services and thousands of jobs for graduates of intervention programs. The framework also includes enhancing policing and criminal justice reforms.

"We think police are a critical part of the solution. They need to be strengthened, but also supported," Douglas said.

The Civic Committee's last two commitments are for the long term, getting more corporations to hire from and invest directly in underserved areas. For Krane, the Discover job has allowed her to stay on the South Side.

Douglas admits his framework to reduce violence will not be easy to achieve, but business leaders say they must give it a try.