PODER Through the Years

Founded as Loyola Center With 6 students in Pilsen


Loyola Center opened in January ’97 after initial community needs assessment and the rehab of a former boxing ring and gym at 1637 S Allport St (Chicago). Numerous donations of time, money, and computer hardware allowed the Center to expand.

PODER's Approach

The majority of Latino immigrants, despite a diverse demographic makeup, share an underlying common objective: to provide their children economic stability. So how do we ensure recent arrivals to the U.S. obtain the skills and support needed to achieve the American Dream? With a commitment to expanded workforce development pathways, PODER ensures this aspiration for intergenerational, upward mobility is attainable.

There are formidable barriers facing southwest side Latino immigrants. PODER’s answer is a literacy + job skills + placement strategy that offers multiple pathways to learn English and gain marketable job skills while providing wrap-around support from a growing community partner network. With this approach, each graduate from PODER takes a step towards his or her own American Dream, which in turn results in a more just and prosperous Chicago for all.

What Was Our Impact in 2019?

1 %
Wage gains?

Avg of $6.21 more/hr

1 %
Retention % at 180 days of employment
1 K
Income (wages + benefits)
1
People served in 2019

What Our Empowered Graduates Say

Yolanda Padilla

Bilingual Insurance License Training Program

"After moving to the U.S. I had the opportunity to experience independence and learned the importance of making good decisions. That led me to PODER, which gave me a new opportunity… a chance to be a professional working woman."

Cesar Aguilar

Customer Service Training Program

"Completing PODER’s Customer Service training course has helped me excel in my workplace. Not only did the certification set me apart from other candidates, but all the skills I learned are put into practice on a daily basis."

Rosario Vargas

Latinos in Finance Training Program

"Everything you learn in this course will help you in the workplace. The confidence you’re building will help you successfully interact with customers, coworkers, managers. You’ll be one step ahead of the game."

Martin Galicia

Integrated English

"PODER is an organization that motivates people to overcome themselves in many ways. Thanks to PODER I have changed my lifestyle. Personally, it has helped me communicate better in my work. I thank PODER for giving me the opportunity to take their English classes."

Freddy Ambriz

Latinos in Finance Training Program

"My parents had a dream that in this country their children would one day be able to achieve great things. They taught me that anyone has the ability to succeed, no matter what the circumstances. PODER empowers millennials like me with the skills and confidence to attain the type of success my parents envisioned for me."

Help PODER prepare Spanish-speaking adults to seize opportunities in Chicago through comprehensive and tuition-free English (ESL), civic education and job training programs.

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