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Esther Yoon-Ji Kang

Latest Stories (4)

After fleeing violence, many Venezuelan migrants seek work but lack permits

Nov 21, 2023
Some have temporary protected status, but work permits can take time. Those who arrived after July 31 can’t work legally.
Venezuelan migrants sign in at a refugee job fair in Chicago. But attendees who arrived in the U.S. after July 31 could not apply for jobs.
Esther Yoon-Ji Kang/WBEZ

Want to make friends from a different economic class? Try your local Applebee’s

Oct 20, 2023
Full-service chain restaurants attract people from different income brackets and represent a way to break down class barriers, research shows.
James Williams enjoys a lunch date with his wife at an Applebee's near Chicago. A recent working paper titled "Rubbing Shoulders" says chain restaurants are among a handful of places in the U.S. where people from high-income and low-income neighborhoods encounter one another.
Esther Yoon-Ji Kang/WBEZ

In some cities, domestic workers are entitled to contracts. Many never get one.

Sep 25, 2023
In Chicago and other cities, contracts outlining pay and scheduling are mandated for domestic workers. Why won’t some employers sign them?
House cleaner Magdalena Mrowca loads her vacuum into her car. A Chicago ordinance requires written contracts for such workers, which is meant to protect them and professionalize a devalued industry, advocates say.
Esther Yoon-Ji Kang/WBEZ

Manufacturing needs workers. Chicago has plenty. Where’s the disconnect?

Dec 11, 2019
A high rate of unemployment persists in some parts of Chicago, despite a worker shortage in manufacturing.
Production supervisor David Casarrubias monitors a fabric-cutting machine at Freedman Seating company in Chicago.
Esther Yoon-Ji Kang