Jack Rocha, a community development planner with UIC’s Great Cities Institute, is quoted in a WBEZ/Better Government Association project story examining Dolton, Illinois, and the impact of deindustrialization. Rocha addresses job trends following the closing of steel sites on Chicago’s Southeast Side.
In Dolton alone, there had been brick making, metal parts, steel, aluminum and container factories — all now gone. Right across the border in Riverdale was the Acme Steel plant that employed well more than 1,000 at its zenith. The plant remains under different ownership, but the workforce is a fraction the size.
Jack Rocha, a community development planner at the University of Illinois-Chicago, said the South Works closure accelerated what had already been a stampede for the exits in places like Dolton. “If people had the means, they went and they followed the jobs where they went,” said Rocha, who works with the university’s Great Cities Institute.