The Discover Customer Care Center of Chatham progress is on track

Juatise Gathings, is the Manager of the Discover Customer Care Center in Chatham. Since the Discover Customer Care Center opened in June it has increased its staff from 40 to 200 and is on
track to make its goal of 1,000 employees by 2025, possibly earlier to 2023.
Juatise Gathings, is the Manager of the Discover Customer Care Center in Chatham. Since the Discover Customer Care Center opened in June it has increased its staff from 40 to 200 and is on track to make its goal of 1,000 employees by 2025, possibly earlier to 2023.

The Discover Customer Care Center of Chatham progress is on track

By Tia Carol Jones

The Discover Customer Care Center’s temporary space opened at 8560 S. Cottage Grove in June 2021. When it first opened 40 employees had been hired and the goal was to have 1,000 employees by 2025.

Seven months later, the Discover Customer Care Center has increased the number of employees and is set to open the 100,000 square foot permanent location this Spring.

Discover made a commitment to hire employees within a five square mile radius of the center. There are currently more than 200 employees. The initial goal was to hire 130 people by the end of 2021. That goal was accelerated.

Juatise Gathings, manager at the Discover Customer Care Center, has been impressed by the applicant pool and qualified people within the community. Also, the retention of employees at the center was better than originally anticipated.

“The retention is significantly better than the retention across the other locations in the country. It allowed us to accelerate hiring a little bit,” she said.

The hope is that the Customer Care Center will have 600 employees by the end of 2022, which will be an incremental 400 jobs. From there, the new goal is to get to 1,000 by the end of 2023. Gathings is confident the center will exceed the goal of 600 by the end of the year and get to 1,000 quicker than expected.
Gathings said the reason there are more than 200 employees is not because there is a lack of interest in the positions. There were more than 8,500 applicants for 200 positions. What was needed was more room to train and onboard employees. The temporary space can only hold 200 employees.

The permanent space will be available in the middle of March. It will enable the center to have 500 more seats and with that, the capacity to onboard more people.

Since June 2021, the Discover Customer Care Center has donated more than $1.2 million to 20 local community-based organizations. Those donations supported the South Side ecosystem and included organizations with roots on the South Side that service Chatham and the surrounding areas.

“Our hope is that we strengthen those organizations. The vast majority of them support things like workforce development. Obviously getting Chicago back to work, as we still push through the pandemic, is really important to us and we feel like we are doing our part,” Gathings said.

The hope also is that the 1,000 jobs in the next couple of years helps get Chicago back to work. Supporting workforce development agencies and strengthening the workforce has been very important to the Discover Customer Care Center.
Employees at the Discover Customer Care Center also have contributed more than 1,700 volunteer hours. Those hours have included packing backpacks for Back-to-School events and volunteering at local organizations for youth and teens. The aim is to give back to the community and to be good neighbors.

To support local businesses, the Discover Customer Care Center provides lunch for its more than 200 employees and have used 19 minority and women owned restaurants. Thirteen of those restaurants were Black owned and located on the South Side.

Employees are tested daily. They are paid to come in a little early to test for COVID-19. On-site there is strict social distancing protocols in place. There also has been a focus on vaccinations. The vaccination rate of the employees is a little more than 70%. Roseland Hospital has been a partner and has come to the site to vaccinate employees.

The facility will also have a 25,000 square foot community engagement center, Shine Bright Community Center, with boardrooms, multipurpose rooms, cafeterias and media rooms. People will be able to gather and it will be free to local community organizations.

“The most important part for me is how much being in Chatham has made Discover a better company, everything from our employee retention to our customer experience scores. Our company is better because of our decision to be on the South Side,” Gathings said.

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