qiana food service dish

Qiana Dennis

UChicago Medicine

South Side resident Qiana Dennis was working at a downtown Chicago Starbucks when she felt ready for a change and connected with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. A nonprofit that serves job seekers who are unemployed or underemployed, Skills matches qualified candidates with hiring needs at partner organizations including UChicago Medicine — and has an amazing track record: after three months, 96 percent of Skills clients placed at UChicago Medicine are still on the job.

Dennis worked with the Skills team on her job applications and interview savvy, and aced a group interview for a food service position. “It’s all about how you present yourself,” she says, “and I had customer service skills that served me well.” She joined UChicago Medicine food service team in late 2018, and reports that she enjoys her job delivering trays to hospital patients’ rooms. “I have empathy and sympathy for people — and at the hospital you’re surrounded by life and death, which makes you appreciate the things around you.”

qiana food service dish

“There are endless opportunities here, plus benefits like tuition reimbursement, rearranging your hours if you want to go to school, and home buyer opportunities.”

She says the benefits of the job include a better wage, opportunities to move up the career ladder at the hospital, and tuition reimbursement if she decides to go to school so she can qualify for skilled jobs in the medical field. In the meantime, she’s looking forward to getting a car, and says that her UChicago job has made a significant difference for her and her 14-year-old daughter.

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