Most people know Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White for the Jesse White Tumblers. Each year the Tumblers draw a huge crowd to the Eli’s Cheesecake Festival when they fly over a giant Eli’s Cheesecake and at hundreds of events around the country. Jesse White has also developed an international reputation for his success in changing the lives of the Tumblers through education and a focus on careers.

Jesse White has another job which doesn’t get as much attention as leading the Tumblers and being the Secretary of State. He is also the State Librarian and has responsibility for helping people through literacy training. We are delighted that Eli’s Cheesecake, working through Wright College, is the recipient of a Workplace Skills Grant to give our people additional skills for their work and their lives.

Our gifted instructor from Wright, Ellen Vanderhoof, teaches at Eli’s twice a week in the afternoon and evening. Our student associates are real heroes as they balance a full time schedule at Eli’s with class work.

My dad was forced to drop out of high school at the age of 16 when his father passed away on the eve of the Depression. He was a very strong believer in life long learning and we honor his legacy with this class room program. The fact that Jesse White was a dear friend of Eli’s and a regular Monday night guest at Eli’s the Place for Steak with George Dunne, Ira Colitz
and Alderman Burt Natarus makes this program even more special.