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Posted September 18, 2012

JARC: let’s get to work


A daisy chain of industrial buildings is all that separates the Jell office from Ravenswood community anchor, Jane Addams Resource Corporation. A neighborhood fixture since the mid-1980s, this no-nonsense not-for-profit has dedicated itself to empowering Chicago’s emerging workforce through job training programs and adult education. The Jell team leapt at the opportunity to get involved in a meaningful way.

For months JARC’s executive director Guy Loudon had searched for a creative team to reaffirm his website organizational strategy — tailor top-level content to attract program seekers and facilitate contact. Equally critical: the new website should be built never to languish. Administrative staff should feel comfortable self-managing the content through an intuitive user interface. Free from fluff and extraneous window-dressing, the new website should be current, accessible, and inviting to JARC’s target audience. Bottom line, all roads should lead to enrollment.

Jell’s initial approach wove simplified navigation and straight-ahead messaging with engaging photographs of program students — allowing prospective candidates to picture themselves welding, operating machinery, and developing computer skills. JARC gave us the green light, and we set to work on this ambitious budget-conscious project, collaborating with Neha Chitnavis, the website's administrator.

Along the way, Neha (who also runs JARC’s Community Technology Center), saw an opportunity for deeper involvement with Jell and invited founder Joe Grossmann to discuss his experiences as a small business owner with students in her business entrepreneurship class.

The new JARC website launched earlier this fall, to the delight of our client. Take it from Guy: “We knew what we wanted and you helped us get there. You just worked very well, warmly and efficiently with everybody, and got it done. It was the quality of the experience. It’s just wonderful that you’re motivated to deliver that quality in a framework we can afford. It turned out better than I could have imagined. We love it. The board is pleased, our customers are pleased.”

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