Google To Add More Jobs As Company Makes Chicago Its Finance Hub

Bernie Tafoya
February 15, 2019 - 4:24 pm

Lobby space is seen for the first time during Google's grand opening in Chicago's West Loop Thursday December 3, 2015. (Chicago Tribune/ Phil Velasquez/TNS/Sipa USA)

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Google is setting down stronger roots in Chicago.

Google has been in Chicago for nearly 20 years and currently has about 1,000 people working for the company. Now, it said it plans to add "hundreds" of new jobs as it makes Chicago a hub for its finance team. Google is not providing exact numbers of new jobs but said it plans to lease a second building in the Fulton Street Market area.

Google Chicago vice president Karen Sauder said Google cares deeply about the city.

"Chicago’s an innovation center that attracts incredible talent across all kinds of industries and we love being part of the tech scene here in Chicago and being part of the community," Sauder said. 

Bicyclists ride past West Randolph Street and North Peoria Street in Chicago on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Google is planning to open a flagship retail store at this location, near West Randolph Street and North Peoria Street. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA)

Meanwhile, the company has also awarded a million dollars in grants through its new statewide Impact Challenge. Mattoon in Motion won the top prize of $325,000. The non-profit received the same $75,000 that nine other non-profits received, plus $250,000 more.

Ed Dowd is executive director of the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce and said the plan is to set up the Cross-County Innovation Center that will be 6,000 square feet.

"People who want to have a place to go to have a business address, to have 24/7 access (and) have a place to call home to start their business," Dowd said. "It's going to be an inviting environment; we’re very excited."

Bernie Tafoya/WBBM Newsradio

Maria Kim is president and CEO of the CARA Chicago program which was one of the $75,000 grant winners.

"CARA is all about boot camps and businesses that help people affected by homelessness and poverty get back to work so this money helps leverage that up and expand our programs to serve more individuals in need," Kim said.

She said the organization helps about 900 to 1000 jobs per year and for those that are placed in permanent employment, they have a one-year retention rate over, over 20 percent higher than national norms.

The North Lawndale Employment Network on the West Side was another winner. Chief Program Officer Mark Sanders said the money will help its social enterprise Sweet Beginnings, which employees formerly incarcerated people.

"We sell honey and honey-infused skin care products and so, what that does is give us an opportunity to provide job training and employment for people with felony convictions," Sanders said.

Sanders said the nonprofit wants to take the model created on the West Side and expand to the South Side and beyond. The recidivism rate for former Sweet Beginnings employees is below 8 percent, compared to the national average of 40 percent and the Illinois average of 55 percent, according to its website.

"Less than 6 percent of the people that come through our program return to prison so we want to see if we can do that throughout the city and the county and ultimately, the country," he said.