Quick Hit Aricka Flowers Monday May 9th, 2011, 5:31pm

A Cabrini Green Target: Are The 75 Jobs Worth It?

Retail giant Target has its arrow pointed at the former site of the Cabrini Green public housing complex as a place to potentially set up shop -- and the corporation is using job creation as the bait for community support. Target has agreed to set aside 38 percent of the estimated 200 jobs that the proposed 150,000 square-foot, three-floor store would demand for public housing residents.

But what type of jobs would be set aside for the estimated 75 public housing residents? And would these jobs put them on a path that leads away from the poverty level and closer to the middle class?

Not so much, if the Chicago Reporter's analysis of the South Loop Target's impact is any indictator. At that location, 53 percent of the staff makes less than $15,000 per year, according to the analysis. Additionally, only 8 percent of those who work at the South Loop Target make more than $40,000 per year. Positions at that salary level are likely to be those in management. Unfortunately, Target refused to allocate any management positions as part of the deal to set aside a certain number of jobs for public housing residents.

"It was a discussion point as we negotioated the deal," Kellie O'Connell Miller, CHA''s vice-president of strategic planning and public affairs, told the Sun-Times. "One of the biggest successes of CHA's Plan for Transormation is moving residents towards self-sufficency."

But it's hard to see how someone could be self-sufficient on a salary in the mid-teens. Add that to the fact that 1 in 3 Chicago-area renters are "severely burdened" by housing costs and it becomes difficult to see how this plan could be the "potential start of an economic boom for Cabrini Green" as Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward) recently suggested.


It is not Target, Wal Mart or any other employers responsibility to provide a $50,000 per job for someone to drag items across a scanner and put them in plastic bags.

Jobs at these places are not intended to support a single head of household family with 3-4 kids. These are entry level jobs that introduce people to the world of work and hopefully inspire them to complete their eductaion and then move on to better jobs or careers.

100% agree with DMlawyer, a job is a job...Its not an entitlement or a given. Will it change the face of poverty in the Cabrini area? probably not...but what it will do is provide jobs to those who don't have them and a possibility to advance. Maybe this job won't turn every resident into a self sufficient member of society, but it may just take a few kids off the street, and possibly give them the work experience to take the next step of finding a career or going to college. To those who say 75 positions isn't enough be realistic...its a boost to the neighborhood as a whole. To those who want management positions I say sure as long as they have enough experience to be qualified for it, but in no way should it be a given or a requirement of it being built, thats just not good business.


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