Fermilab Employee Spotlight: Jimmy Mcleod, Chicago Workforce Liaison

How did you find out about Fermilab?

I was seeking professional opportunities that allowed me to access an audience that is curious and inclusive. I also wanted a position that allowed me to engage with the greater Chicago community and provide workforce opportunities for those who have been traditionally overlooked. Through various job websites, I found this posting from Fermilab and it spoke to all my professional passions and experience. Once I met with my first recruiter, I knew Fermi was going to be an important next step in my career and that I could provide great leadership in this role.

Jimmy Mcleod_Fermilab
Jimmy Mcleod

What is an average day like as a Chicago Workforce Liaison?

Most of my days involve assessing the opportunities for growth and development within our workforce pipeline, specifically for the Chicagoland area. I often meet with small tech businesses, college faculty and career professionals, and nonprofit organizations to advance Fermilab’s footprint in those areas. We are dedicated to mining the most diverse talent around the city and exposing those individuals to opportunities at Fermi as interns, employees, and partners.

You have advised and mentored many minority students and leaders throughout your career on how to develop as professionals. What have been some takeaways or lessons from the work you’ve done?

My most important lesson has been to embrace my curiosity. Even though I began my professional career in higher education, I remained interested in growing my skillset and maximizing my career opportunities. After a few informational interviews, I learned that my talent is best spent in the equity, diversity, and inclusion space. I encourage others to never sell themselves short when exploring career options. Get every experience you can, no matter how random it seems. You just might discover a new passion.

Is there anything you find interesting about Fermilab that an outsider or someone who isn’t familiar with should know?

While Fermilab is committed to advancing our understanding of quantum physics, I was not aware of all the other functions within the lab. My background is not in science, yet through my experience and expertise, I was able to secure my role in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. It might seem obvious to others, but I had not considered the existence of procurement, communications, training, and educational outreach among others, as viable avenues for employment at a lab like Fermi.

Do you have any advice you could give if someone were to get a position at Fermilab or a similar organization?

Learn as much as you can about yourself, the organization, then envision yourself within the organization. I have learned that the most effective way to be successful is to understand one’s talents and opportunities for growth. After establishing a higher level of self-awareness, you can not only identify positions in which will find success but also how to use your unique experiences in a job that you’ve never considered… like me. 

Are you interested in working for Fermilab as an intern? Apply for our internship placement program now or email us at communications@abpadc.org.

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