Petersen Aluminum President Offers Career Advice to Chicago Shelter Guests

Guests at the Breakthrough Urban Ministries’ shelter in Chicago received career advice and job-search tips in August when John Palesny, president of Petersen Aluminum Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill., gave a presentation during the organization’s job readiness course.

In addition to employment advice, Palesny shared the background of the metals industry as well as a list of qualities manufacturers look for when considering candidates for employment. “The guests at the shelter were receptive to the advice I was sharing with them. They asked good questions and were really engaged. I enjoyed the experience and was happy to help,” Palesny said. The mission of the job readiness course was to equip shelter guests with the skills they need to be successful in their pursuit of employment.

Volunteer and member of the Breakthrough Young Professionals Board Ashley DeVecht said the evening was a success. “Shelter guests were receptive to John and we had a lively Q&A session after he was finished making his presentation. Many of the guests were eager to share their experience with the metals industry. Some had worked for garage door manufacturers or with a company that made paint cans. Many were certified to drive a fork lift, too. John left them with an inquisitive outlook toward the metals industry and with confidence in their skill sets and job experience. That is the most valuable outcome of John’s talk—confidence.”

Breakthrough partners with those affected by poverty on Chicago’s west side and serves Chicago’s men, women and children in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. Breakthrough has been working for 20 years to bring forward what’s positive about the East Garfield Park neighborhood and eliminate its struggle against the cycle of poverty. Services include a men’s shelter, women’s shelter, after-school program, preschool-age program, Fresh Market neighborhood food pantry, mentor-based youth running club and much more.

Each year, Breakthrough …

  • Serves 70,000 meals to the homeless.
  • Provides 300 homeless men and women with 24/7 shelter and free health care.
  • Connects 580 youth to a support network that provides opportunity.
  • Supplies 1,100 families with groceries and fresh produce.