North Lawndale Employment Network

Since 1999, Chicago's North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) has been taking up arms against poverty and the lack of opportunities for the formerly incarcerated by offering "innovative employment initiatives that lead to economic advancement and an improved quality of life."

To expand their capabilities, the NLEN invested in a new headquarters in what was formerly the Community Bank of Lawndale. It now houses NLEN's administrative offices, indoor and outdoor conferencing areas, and serves as a peaceful communal sanctuary.

This spot is also the home of Sweet Beginnings, where formerly incarcerated neighbors learn new job skills by creating honey and honey-derived beauty products. Community members can also relax at the Bee Love Café and build financial independence at a local bank branch.

NLEN's new space serves several purposes, so Corporate Concepts worked closely with the team from Wheeler Kearns Architects to thoughtfully curate furniture solutions for each area. 

It was crucial that those solutions aligned with Wheeler-Kearns' modern, welcoming design aesthetic while providing ultimate durability for this mixed-use environment. 

With this new space, NLEN expects to serve 5,000 more members annually and offer 100 new transitional jobs in the next five years. We are proud to have provided innovative furniture solutions for this community-focused project.