Loris Cannon serves as a Program Coordinator for Phalanx Family Services Adult Programs. The agency’s adult division is part of its holistic approach to enriching Chicagoans’ lives. Phalanx’s goal is to guide participants into stable living-wage jobs.
Two of the programs under Cannon’s guidance are Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She makes sure they reach their benchmarks, completes required reports, and networks with different partner agencies to utilize their services to further expand their ability to fulfill client needs with resources Phalanx may not have readily available.
Cannon’s position within Phalanx’s management team includes client recruitment planning and ensuring the programs operate to the fullest capabilities the grants allow. Overall, she explains that the intent is to offer needed assistance to ensure customers succeed while working.
She finds the outcome of her responsibilities fulfilling when seeing clients move from not necessarily knowing what direction to go when it comes to finding a job to hearing their success stories:
I have the opportunity to help individuals in need, to help those who are wanting to go to work. Many come to us looking for assistance to help them overcome the barriers that hold them back. Once they complete their goal seeing the excitement in their eyes is wonderful. When I see that they really appreciate the time end energy my team put forth it warms my heart!
Cannon has worked with Phalanx Family Services for the past 18 years. She noted the move from the Boys and Girls Club in 2003 was a smooth transition. The same year she started with Phalanx, she got married, “so that is a special memory for me.”
She began her social services career as a tracking coordinator 23 years ago. As she learned more of the dynamics of social services, she advanced. Cannon said there is something new to learn every day.
There is not a dull moment working in this field.
She says she enjoys helping people and seeing them reach their highest potential. When that happens, “you can see them peak and all of their self-doubt is gone. I love seeing that!”
CHA Direct Job Placement Services
Under the CHA program, work-ready customers can begin a job or advance their careers in the following high growth industries; healthcare, manufacturing, food service, hospitality, and transportation, distribution, and logistics (TDL). To participate, they must be a resident currently partnered with either the Chicago Housing Authority or hold a Housing Choice Voucher.
Cannon explains work-readiness means participants have a recent resume, current job history, and valid state identification. Once a customer completes an intake assessment and has the needed documentation, they are referred to a job developer. Job seekers are given job referrals to seek employment opportunities.
SNAP Services: OJT Work Experience, Training, and Life Readiness
The SNAP employment program offers short-term, subsidized employment training designed to help able-bodied adults without dependents gain on-the-job work experience and vocational training as well as work and life readiness training.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Interview: Loris Cannon
Phalanx Family Services: Adult Division
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Inset Image Courtesy of FuntimeBen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License