If you’re looking for a summer job you may want to check out McDonald’s, which recently announced plans to hire 14,000 new employees — including 2,400 in the Chicago-area.

The hiring announcement was made at a May 13 press conference on the West Side by Akins Akinnagbe, a McDonald’s owner and operator, who was joined by U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Chicago), Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of World Business Chicago, and Derrick Taylor, president of the Black McDonald’s Operators Association of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.

“McDonald’s is always giving back to the community. This is what we do,” said Akins, who owns nine McDonald’s restaurants, including four on the West Side. “Summer time is right around the corner so we are looking to hire more people especially youth.”

Through its Archways to Opportunity program, McDonald’s provides educational assistance to its restaurant employees. But beyond providing tuition assistance for college, it also provides its U.S. employees an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, access to free educational, advising services and the opportunity to learn English as a second language. 

And the hamburger-chain recently made changes to the program to further enhance it by tripling tuition assistance for restaurant employees to $2,500 from $700 annually; lowering eligibility requirements from nine months to 90 days of employment; and dropping weekly shift minimums from 20 hours to 15 hours.

One McDonald’s employee, Taylor Porter, 23, received tuition assistance that allowed her to earn a bachelor’s degree in Communications from southwest suburban St. Xavier University earlier this month. Prior to transferring to St. Xavier Porter, Porter said she attended Triton Community College in River Grove for two years, where she also received tuition assistance from McDonald’s.

“I started working at McDonald’s when I was 17 and today I still work for them as an operations associate in their Chicago Field Office,” said Taylor. “The money I received made a big difference, because money was ‘tight’ for me at the time. My goal is to someday become a McDonald’s owner and operator.”

There are 112 McDonald’s restaurants in Chicago and 664 in Illinois, so there’s room for more growth, said Lisa Schumacher, director of education strategies for McDonald’s Corp., who added that 1,700 McDonald’s restaurant employees in Illinois received nearly $3.6 million in tuition assistance since 2015. 

To apply for employment online, go to restaurantjobs.mcdonalds.com.

Davis, whose 7th District includes the West Side, said he goes to McDonald’s all the time and said he does so because McDonald’s is a community builder.

“A lot of the people that McDonald’s will hire this summer will be young people and to give a young person a chance to be a part of a team and learn new things I think is a wonderful opportunity for the community,” said Davis. 

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