Discover's Chatham center has hired 300 employees over the last year, with the goal of 1,000 hires by 2024. Credit: Leen Yassine/Block Club Chicago

CHATHAM — Discover Financial Services opened its Chatham customer care and community center Monday, replacing what was a closed Target store.

The 100,000-square-foot facility at 8650 S. Cottage Grove Ave. includes a community center free for use by local organizations and a technology hub with career resources for employees, officials said.

Discover announced its plans for the center in March 2021. The company opened a temporary space within three months with promises to hire 1,000 people by 2024.

Three hundred employees have been hired since then, officials said. As the company ramps up to 1,000 employees, officials expect the majority of workers will come from within 5 miles of the Chatham center, Discover CEO Roger Hochschild said at a news conference Monday.

“It’s my hope that a future CEO of Discover has already joined us here at the Chatham location, and I am certain that many of Discover’s future leaders will come from the South Side of Chicago,” Hochschild said. “Investing in the South Side of Chicago is not just the right thing to do — it’s good business.”

Discover is also partnering with Chicago State University to provide free tuition to the school for employees.

Hochschild, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Rep. Bobby Rush, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) and Leslie Roundtree, Chicago State University interim provost, attended the center’s grand opening Monday.

“This isn’t a rose growing out of concrete,” Lightfoot said. “I would say that this was fertile ground all along. … What you see blooming is the fruit of a beautiful South Side neighborhood when people are given the opportunity.”

The Chatham customer care and community center — a development under the Invest South/West umbrella — also features rotating work from local artists and a mural by David Anthony that honors the neighborhood’s history and culture.

Monday’s grand opening kicks off a week-long celebration of events, including a back-to-school party in the center’s parking lot Saturday, where volunteers will give away more than 3,000 backpacks with school supplies. The company hosted a similar event last year.

Discover opened the doors to its Chatham customer care and community center Monday at 8650 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Credit: Leen Yassine/Block Club Chicago
The Discover center features work by local artists and a mural by David Anthony highlighting Chatham history and culture. Credit: Leen Yassine/Block Club Chicago

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