Chicago Career Tech & United Way: Adding Value and Purpose to My Work

Submitted on behalf of  Alison McDonald, Chicago Career Tech Participant. I’m a participant in the Chicago Career Tech job retraining program and have been completing the hands-on learning portion of my work here at the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago since November. I wanted to share a bit about how I got to Chicago Career Tech, what I’m learning through the program and how I’m applying that new knowledge here to help United Way. My background is in educational publishing. I’ve spent most of my career working as a production artist–laying out the copy from editors and styling it per the book designer’s template. I was also given the opportunity to learn new computer skills to improve workflow. It was through a friend in the publishing business that I found out about Chicago Career Tech. She was in CCT’s project management training track and recommended that I apply. I’m so glad that I followed her advice. Through Chicago Career Tech, I’ve received job training in web development and have been using knowledge I gained in the classroom to work with United Way’s content management system. For example, I’ve used my new skills in HTML and CSS to make changes to companies’ fundraising web pages. I’ve also worked on user experience projects such as an online survey to collect feedback from campaign coordinators as to how they view the training and utilization of the online pledging process and how it can be improved. Both my supervisor and boss have years of experience and are eager to share their knowledge and answer all my questions. They include me in weekly meetings and allow me to participate in discussions and training sessions with United Way’s partner companies. They also like to hear what I’m learning in class and how that can be applied to what I’m doing here at United Way. I’ve always wanted to experience working in a non-profit setting and this program has given me a chance to do that. The people at United Way of Metropolitan Chicago are incredibly friendly and helpful–they are the most enjoyably diverse group of people I’ve ever worked with. My work at United Way gives me a sense of purpose and a feeling that I’m invaluable to the Operations team. I’m grateful for this valuable opportunity that Chicago Career Tech and United Way have provided me and am sure this experience is preparing me well for the next chapter in my career. If your organization would like to participate as a host site in the Chicago Career Tech program, please click here  for further information. If you would like to apply to be a Chicago Career Tech participant, please click here.

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