Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (Skills) is a public-private partnership working to match businesses that have current, unmet hiring needs with qualified, unemployed and underemployed job seekers. Its office, located in a multi-storey building in downtown Chicago, has no direct access to outdoor air and is protected by six Rensair units.
“We closed our office in March 2020 and gradually reopened it again in winter, but there was a resurgence of Covid cases in Chicago and we went back remote”, says Kyle Clauss, Vice President Marketing and Communications at Skills. “Our number one priority was to make our own staff comfortable and safe, which Rensair made a reality when we acquired their units in the Spring of 2021.”
The relationship with Rensair began with a full review of Skills’ office, assessing the floor plan, room sizes, existing HVAC system, occupancy levels and noise tolerance. This was followed up with a proposal recommending the number and position of units to attain the optimum level of indoor air quality.
“We have an important role to play in matching candidates to jobs, which helps the local economy and supports underinvested neighbourhoods”, continues Kyle. “To do that relies on interviewing, preferably in person, and we can now carry on in the full knowledge that we are mitigating the risk of transmission, for visitors as well as for employees.”
After taking delivery of the units, Kyle made a point of engaging Skills’ employees with the organization’s infection control strategy. Communication methods included town hall meetings, re-orientation tours for people returning to the office, and fully briefed ‘protection ambassadors’ who could answer any questions about Covid mitigation measures and the role of the air purification units. Simultaneously, external communications ensured that candidates felt safe coming into the Skills office for face-to-face interviews.
Commenting on the air purification units, Daniel Cervantes, Senior Vice President Strategic Initiatives at Skills, says: “It does not go unnoticed how fortunate we are to have the support of corporate partners like Rensair. We have safely opened our doors and are serving Chicagoland’s job seekers. A big bonus is also making our staff feel at ease and attracting top talent along the way.”
Skills for Chicagoland’s Future recently announced an ambitious new $10 million fundraising campaign to bring its innovative model for addressing unemployment to 25 new cities across the country over ten years at a critical time of economic recovery.
“The evolution to sites across the country is exciting”, concludes Kyle. “Our mission remains focused on jobs and serving local communities, and to do so effectively the safety of our people and those we serve must always come first. With that in mind, we’ll definitely be talking to Rensair again as we open new sites in different cities.”
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