Jamerson & Bauwens Donates Time and Talents to Lincoln Square Non-Profit Organization

Located in Lincoln Square, Gateway to Learning is a community day service for adults with intellectual challenges and developmental disabilities. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing participants out of the classroom and into their homes for virtual learning, the internet connectivity issues of their decades-old cinder block building became a pressing issue.

When Dan Allen, Director of the Construction Industry Service Coordination (CISCO) and a Gateway to Learning board member, approached Powering Chicago for help, the answer was a no-brainer.

“We want to get involved. We’re excited to get involved because when it affects the community, it affects us,” said Powering Chicago Executive Director Elbert Walters III. 

While traditional pro-bono projects for Powering Chicago are normally fixing power outlets, switching, and lighting, this job required connecting ethernet cables and improving internet connectivity in classrooms. Knowing their expertise in this area, Powering Chicago approached Jamerson & Bauwens Electrical Contractors, with the request and they jumped right in. 

“When I first came out here and met John, the director, he wanted me to check out just two rooms,” said Mark Woosley, Project Manager/RCDD at Jamerson & Bauwens Electrical Contractors. “So I was walking through the two rooms and wondering if they had anything else they might need because we have some good electricians who just fly.” 

In the end, Jamerson & Bauwens addressed the connectivity issues throughout the whole building, enabling participants to stay connected while physically apart. 

“One hundred percent, we are responsible for people’s lives. And the quality of work has to be stellar. Knowing it’s coming from the union is critical,” said Executive Director of Gateway to Learning Kathryn Lavin.

Now that the project is completed, participants are more connected with their friends, instructors, and coaches, enabling their lives to continue moving forward.

On Sunday, May 2, this story was featured on ABC 7’s Built to Last, an Emmy-nominated program that features trade union members and contractors from around the Chicagoland area. The program highlighted the work that went into this project and demonstrated how Powering Chicago union contractors and electricians live out their commitment to better communities.