Discover will open a new Chicago-based customer care center in the city’s Chatham neighborhood. Once fully operational, the center will provide nearly 1,000 full-time jobs to neighborhood and area residents.
“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.”
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.
Located in a former Target store, the more than 100,000-square-foot customer care center will offer over 500 parking spots and is located within a short distance to the 87th St. Red Line Stop, Metra’s 87th St. Station, and major bus routes. Renovation plans include up to 5,000 square feet of internal/external use space adjacent to the customer care center that will be available to community-based organizations.
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 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.
“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.
“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 to transform the former big box retail facility into 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.”
Discover has partnered with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future in planning its new customer care center. The company 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.”
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