Discover Shines Bright with opening

The Discover Customer Care Center and Shine Bright Community Center opened to the public on Monday, Aug. 1st. PHOTO BY: JAMES GUYTON FOR DISCOVER.
The Discover Customer Care Center and Shine Bright Community Center opened to the public on Monday, Aug. 1st. PHOTO BY: JAMES GUYTON FOR DISCOVER.

 Discover Shines Bright with opening

By Tia Carol Jones
The Discover Customer Care Center opened the Shine Bright Community Center on Monday, Aug. 1st. During the event, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Congressman Bobby Rush and 6th Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer talked about the commitment Discover made by opening a call center in the Chatham community and hiring employees who lived in communities surrounding the center.

The Customer Care Center is located at 8550 S. Cottage Grove Ave, is the former site of the community’s Target. Alderman Sawyer said when the retailer left the community, it was devastating.  He worked with his colleagues 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris and other community stakeholders in the Greater Chatham area to fill the vacancy. They reached out to Leon Walker, managing partner at DL3 Realty to buy the building.

“Fast forward now, Discover has been doing a superb job. I think you have made the mark and you have set it for other companies all over the world that can do things that you’ve done. We have properties all over the South and West sides that can benefit from large companies bringing their resources here to the community,” Sawyer said.

Alderman Sawyer said Discover set out a bold ambition and exceeded its target. He also commended Juatise Gathings, Regional Operations Manager at Discover Customer Care Center, for her hard work. Discover has a goal to hire 1,000 employees at the call center by 2025.

In April, Discover announced a partnership with Chicago State University for full-time Discover employees in Chicago, who are enrolled at Chicago State University or want to enroll at the university, the opportunity to have their education financed by the company.

Dr. Leslie Roundtree is the Interim Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Chicago State University. She announced that there are plans to launch a cohort in the Fall of 2022 of 30 Discover Employees to take their coursework on-site at the Shine Bright Center.

“Together, Discover and Chicago State have tapped into the immense talent that is right here on Chicago’s South Side and have created a partnership in which everyone can continue to grow,” Roundtree said.

Mayor Lightfoot said that billions of dollars have been infused in previously disinvested and underserved communities in the South and West sides since she decided to focus on investing in neighborhoods.

“We are building strength in our economy, in our neighborhoods, in our people all over the city, not just in downtown. All of us should be proud of what we have accomplished together. It takes partnership, it takes intentionality, and it takes a belief that our city deserves no less,” Lightfoot said.

Congressman Rush thanked Roger C. Hochschild, CEO of Discover Financial Services, for having the capacity to look beyond an empty building and a neighborhood in need, and see the hearts, minds, and spirits of people in the community.

“I have been wanting a call center in my district for at least 10 or 15 years now,” Rush said. “Roger, thank you so very much for believing in us and bringing your resources and letting this serve as a model for other corporations around the city and around the nation, come to the South side, because the South side and its people are South Side Strong.”

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