Founded in 1982 as an affiliate of the New City YMCA, and established as the Local Economic and Employment Development Council, our organization became an independent not-for-profit community development corporation in 2001. As a delegate agency of the Chicago Department of Planning & Development, we serve businesses in the North River and Addison Industrial Corridors, roughly following Clybourn Avenue, the Chicago River and the Kennedy Expressway from Kinzie Street (south) to Berteau Avenue (north).
We have worked with hundreds of companies in our area to identify solutions to problems that impact their operations, such as balanced land use and development, and better access to city services and programs. Our organization was instrumental in creating Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMDs) to maintain affordable industrial land to retain Chicago’s employment base. The Clybourn Corridor was Chicago’s first PMD in 1988. The Elston Corridor and Goose Island PMDs followed in 1991; the Chicago-Halsted PMD begin in 1998.
We integrate economic and employment development by proactively negotiating hiring agreements with companies (such as Federal Express, Jetro Carry & Cash, and Costco) relocating into the industrial corridor, and with local residents.
We provide skills training and job placement through our computer skills, construction, and green sector training programs. In 2011, we expanded our capacity to help people find jobs by launching WorkLocal.Org, a job placement website.
Since 2003, we have been pursuing sustainable development objectives and have assisted businesses to voluntarily reduce their pollution emissions through strategies such as purchasing energy-efficient equipment and lighting, using low-VOC paints and cleaners, and promoting public transit for employees. We encourage firms to address energy efficiency, waste-to-profit and other “sustainable initiatives” as bottom line strategies that save money.
In 2012 at our 30th Anniversary Event, we unveiled our new name, “North Branch Works“- a name that better reflects the region that we serve.