RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Discover today announced plans to open a new Chicago-based customer care center in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood. Located at 86th Street and Cottage Grove, the center, once fully operational, will provide nearly 1,000 full-time jobs to neighborhood and area residents. Most of the positions will be for customer care representatives with a starting hourly wage of $17.25. Full-time employees will receive Discover’s full benefits package, which includes health insurance, a 401k plan, eligibility for 20 days minimum of paid time off, a focus on career development, and the opportunity to receive a free college education effective upon the first day of employment.
The 100,000+ square foot customer care center will offer more than 500 parking spots and is conveniently located within a short distance to the 87th St. Red Line Stop, Metra’s 87th St. Station, and major bus routes, which will make the site accessible for commuting employees and vendors. Renovation plans also include up to 5,000 square feet of internal/external use space adjacent to the customer care center that will be available for use by community based organizations. Discover plans to seek community input on utilization of that space.
“Discover and its employees are committed to helping people achieve brighter financial futures, which we can best achieve in Chicago by bringing jobs to the area and having direct and long-term involvement with the city,” said Roger Hochschild, CEO and President of Discover. “We fully support Mayor Lightfoot’s call to action for Chicago companies to bring quality jobs directly to communities that need them. Discover recognizes that traditional corporate site selection has contributed to issues of unequal opportunity in our society, and we want to be part of the solution. We hope our commitment to Chatham will serve as a springboard for further economic development in the area; and we’re excited to work with residents and community leaders and add to our award-winning customer service team.”
Discover is working with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office, city Aldermen and neighborhood leaders on plans for the center. Opening the new site supports Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West community improvement initiative and will offer job opportunities and economic development beyond Chatham to residents of INVEST South/West neighborhoods Roseland, Pullman, Auburn Gresham, South Shore and South Chicago. Discover’s investment on the South Side also fully supports the Together We Rise: For an Equitable and Just Recovery initiative to help ensure a fair and equitable recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Discover is prioritizing hiring local talent and has committed to employing minority-owned businesses in the renovations and operation of the center. The center will be led by Juatise Gathings, who grew up in the Roseland community and has worked in three of Discover’s customer care centers during her nearly 10 years with the company. Her local roots, experience, and expertise make her well suited for the role.
“Expanding equity and opportunity across Chicago is possible thanks to the investment and support of corporate partners like Discover,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “More than just creating new jobs, this center represents the latest step in our citywide mission to unlock the huge swaths of talent in neighborhoods like Chatham through bold initiatives such as INVEST South/West, which will strengthen both our communities and companies, and fuel Chicago’s economy for decades to come.”
Headquartered in Riverwoods, Discover has called the Chicago area home for more than 30 years and employs more than 18,000 people-- 5,000 of whom are in the city and suburbs. The company opened a satellite office downtown three years ago, which houses nearly 300 permanent positions and serves as a tech hub for the organization. Discover consistently has been ranked as a Top Place to Work by the Chicago Tribune. The planned Chatham customer care center not only highlights Discover’s commitment to bringing jobs to cornerstone communities, but also further demonstrates its commitment to providing U.S. jobs. Once the center is operational, these jobs will be a part of the award-winning 100 percent U.S.-based customer service Discover offers across the country 24/7.
“Discover’s commitment to Chatham, and the hundreds it will employ from it and the neighboring communities, is an important example of the type of transformative, inclusive investment that can create jobs and opportunities for all Chicagoans,” said Michael Fassnacht, Interim President & CEO, World Business Chicago.
Discover is working with DL3 Realty and together they’re repositioning the former big box retail facility and have committed to build a state-of-the-art customer care center. Extending beyond just investment of dollars, this relationship is another example of DL3 Realty’s commitment to its Venture Development investment model that promotes equitable revitalization of urban neighborhoods.
“Target Corporation sold the vacant site to us because they knew that we had the patience and resolve to responsibly hold this property until a community-focused redevelopment plan could be realized,” said Leon I. Walker, Managing Partner of DL3 Realty. “Discover’s commitment to Chatham will encourage other corporate stakeholders to seek out opportunities to invest in the neighborhoods so that we can extend opportunity and equity to all Chicagoans.”
“Chatham extends a warm welcome to Discover and I’m happy they’re investing in our community and adding nearly 1,000 jobs over the next four years,” said 6th Ward Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer. “I’m excited that Discover’s move to Chatham may spur economic development and appreciate their commitment to have minority owned contractors working on this center. Appreciation also goes to Leon Walker for leading this project that can be central to the sustainability of Chatham.”
Discover will soon be posting nearly 20 leadership job opportunities, followed by customer service agent job opportunities in April, with plans to hire a first class of 15 agents who will start in June. These positions will be housed at the Chatham facility in a temporary space until the full facility is open by the end of 2021. Discover hopes to hire and train additional classes of 15 agents every three weeks and employ more than 150 agents this year with the eventual goal of filling nearly 1,000 positions over the next four years. While Discover’s intent is to have employees in the Center start off working in-person, they are prepared to offer a work from home option if necessary and have processes in place should the COVID-19 pandemic continue to threaten the health and safety of employees. The customer care center is expected to receive millions of customer service calls per year once fully operational. Individuals and organizations wanting to learn more about Discover and job opportunities for their new Chatham facility can visit www.discover.com/shinebright.
Discover has partnered with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future in planning this customer care center and will continue to work with Skills and community-based organizations serving the south side on recruitment efforts with an expressed intention to primarily hire residents of south side neighborhoods.
“These are great jobs coming to Chicago and this is a big win for south side residents. Discover’s commitment to not just opening a customer care center in Chatham but hiring locally is a testament to their passion for creating brighter futures and driving change,” said Marie Trzupek Lynch, President and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. “It has been exciting to support Discover along the way as they turned this concept into a reality, and we’re thrilled to continue that support now through hiring efforts focused on south side residents.”
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a digital banking and payment services company with one of the most trusted brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
About DL3 Realty
DL3 Realty (DL3) is a full-service real estate development and advisory firm that employs its nationally recognized Venture Development model to transform historically disinvested communities with high-impact commercial developments and affordable housing projects targeting working families. Leon I. Walker, Managing Partner of the firm, has spent the past 20 years acquiring, developing, leasing, and advising partners in the development of prominent commercial projects designed to revitalize Chicago’s neighborhoods with high quality education programs, medical office buildings and grocery anchored shopping centers. Over the past five years, DL3’s projects have generated more than 2,000 local jobs, and DL3 is working with America’s leading corporations to invest and create 10,000 new jobs in Chicago’s neighborhoods by 2030.