On a cool afternoon in Pilsen, Carmen Velasquez looks out of her second floor office window in the Alivio Medical Center on 21st Street. Below, in what was a vacant lot, construction workers busily work on a new building. Velasquez smiles as she watches, discussing the completion of Alivio’s latest project. What now looks like six stories of gray concrete and steel beams by next summer will be a state-of-the-art senior facility for low-income residents. “I can’t wait for it to be done.
A. Finkl and Sons steel mill will be moving from the North Side of Chicago to the South Side in early 2010. Behind the news:
According to A. Finkl and Sons, the company is committed to improving the environment. Indeed, the Chicago business has received awards from Friends of the Park, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Arbor Day Foundation for planting over 6 million trees. The company is also the worst polluter in Chicago, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency, and is moving from a predominantly white to a predominantly black neighborhood. “Corporations tend to move to areas of least resistance,” said Sylvia Hood Washington, a research associate professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and editor- in-chief of Environmental Justice magazine.
In July, the unemployment rate for Illinois rose for the third straight month to 7.3 percent, up 2.2 percent from July of last year, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The number of unemployed stood at 491,300, rising by 27,900 between June and July. Behind the News:
Latinos may be feeling the squeeze more than most. According to Illinois Department of Employment Security, 10 out of 11 Illinois industries with more than 10,000 jobs that reported employment losses in July. Three industries hit hardest by the economic downturn during the past year were construction, manufacturing and finance–”the sectors which, according to census data, employed the highest percentages of Latinos than others.