If given the chance, Jose Rivera (pictured at the far right) knew he could prove himself. The Humboldt Park, IL native was released from federal prison in November 2020. Upon his release, he was determined to set a new path forward – for himself and his family.
“I knew that in order for me to not lose my family again, I’ve got to establish a different way of life, a different way of thinking, a different way of acting,” he said.
Not long after his release, Rivera heard about the Food Depository’s new Certified Logistics and Warehouse Technician (CLWT) program, a paid 12-week supply chain industry job training available to unemployed or underemployed Cook County residents. The students work directly with the Food Depository’s operations team, receiving hands-on instruction on the warehouse floor.
In July 2021, Rivera was a member of the program’s first graduating class. With his new certifications and experience in tow, he accepted a job on the Food Depository’s receiving team, helping load and unload trucks and stocking deliveries of food.
Rivera’s proud of his accomplishments and the chance to have a fresh start. “From day one, they greeted me with open arms,” he said. “Not too many people are willing to give you that chance, and here they gave me that chance.” Rivera’s long-term goal is to one day run his own trucking business – one that will still allow him to be home with his family each night.
Workforce development is one of the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s central strategies in addressing the root causes of hunger – by helping our neighbors secure skilled jobs, we’re helping break the cycle of food insecurity.
We are continuing to serve a heightened need for food assistance and economic opportunity in our communities due in part to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. On behalf of our neighbors throughout Cook County, like Jose Rivera, thank you for your support of the Greater Chicago Food Depository! The need is great, but together we are greater.