Community Career Center
NEIGHBORHOOD - NAPERVILLE MAGAZINE
COMMUNITY CAREER CENTER
By Kelli Anderson
When Kimberly White and her family finally settled in Naperville in 2005, they had moved 12 times in 18 years. Although routine for a career military officer such as her husband, she found there was nothing routine or easy about landing a new job with every new move. The process was difficult. Her hard-knocks experience, however, made her ideally suited to help others going through a tough job-hunting process.
“During this time, I worked with soldiers who were transitioning out of the military so I knew firsthand what it was like to go through the job search process,” she explains about what ultimately lead her to volunteer her time and knowledge at the Community Career Center (CCC) in Naperville. After five years of volunteering, she became its executive director in 2010.
The Birth of The Center
The Community Career Center (CCC), a nonprofit that opened its doors in 1996, was created in response to a community-wide assessment that revealed a serious concern in the community regarding unemployment and underemployment. Today, 41 percent of those receiving help from the CCC are heads of households, and nearly half make less than $53,000 a year. They struggle to support their families and the stigma of being unemployed longer than six months often results in even the most qualified job seekers to be overlooked for an interview. But thanks to the CCC and its partnership with 23 local service agencies, job search resources, and dedicated volunteers, thousands of people have gone on to find sustainable work.
The CCC provides a supportive and professional setting where job seekers can conduct an effective and successful job search. In addition, a professional staff of trained volunteers is available for individual consultation to assist job seekers in setting reasonable goals and implementing strategies that meet their specific needs.
“With four staff members, CCC is mainly a volunteer driven organization,” said White. “We are so thankful to the dedicated board members and volunteers who give of their time to work with our job seekers. We couldn’t do what we do without them.”
A Helping Hand
Services and resources at CCC include one-on-one appointments and consultations to assist in resume writing, career counseling, networking, interviewing skills and more. The Center, now celebrating its 20th year in October, regularly welcomes anyone from surrounding communities to receive job-searching help. Last year alone they provided workshops, networking events, and individual customized consultation to more than 1,900 clients in the western suburbs.
As part of its anniversary celebration, the Center will be hosting an open house event on Thursday, October 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone wishing to learn more. Visitors to the Center, or their website, will see plenty of new programming, workshops and events. Also new this year, the CCC will be partnering with the DuPage Foundation to establish an endowment fund to ensure they can continue their work in the years ahead.
One of the more unique and much-anticipated fundraisers in Naperville, the CCC’s annual “Dancing with the Celebrities,” has also been an important source of funding for the Center’s programs and resources. Each year, different celebrity dancers are paired with professional dance studios to put on a sold-out performance for guests who also enjoy wine, tapas and sangria along with the evening’s entertainment. “The professional dance studios do an unbelievable job with our celebrity dancers to put on and awesome show that wows the crowd every year,” said White. “People keep asking me if I’m going to dance…and all I will say is, “Stay tuned.”
For more information about The Community Career Center, visit www.communitycareercenter.org.
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