Youth Job Center Hires New Executive Director!
The Youth Job Center has announced the hiring of a new executive director, Karen Tollenaar Demorest, who recently moved to the Chicago area from Seattle, where she served as the vice president of a nonprofit that works with the public school system.
Ms. Tollenaar Demorest will take over as executive director at the YJC on Aug. 29. The change in leadership was announced Monday by Adam Goodman, chairman of the agency's board of directors.
"Karen brings to YJC the experienced and visionary leadership that we need to ensure that the agency reaches the goals in our strategic plan," said Mr. Goodman. "In particular, we are confident that Karen will prove to be a collaborative, thoughtful and energetic presence for the agency and the communities in which we work."
Since 2007, Ms. Tollenaar Demorest has worked at the Alliance for Education, an agency that advocates on behalf of Seattle Public Schools, seeking grants, implementing programs and engaging the community to improve outcomes for all students. The organization works to increase graduation rates and post-secondary success, leads the Seattle Teacher Residency, and convenes funders and a network of community members to support and advocate for students.
Ms. Tollenaar Demorest earned a master's degree in public administration from the University of Washington, with a focus on education and social policy as well as nonprofit management. She earned a bachelor's degree in communications with a focus on journalism.
"I am very excited to work with the board and staff of the Youth Job Center to build upon the successes of this organization over the past 30-plus years," she said. "I am eager to explore how YJC, working with business partners, schools and other community organizations can support more young people for success in their lives through future planning, continuous learning and finding their individual power to reach their desired goals."
Ms. Tollenaar Demorest succeeds former executive director Sacella Smith, who left the YJC in January.
YJC In Search of New Development Director
The Development Director’s primary responsibility is to design and execute the development strategy for the Youth Job Center. The position is responsible for fundraising and development activities to ensure a sound and sustainable funding base for the organization.
The individual directs all fundraising efforts for YJC programs and services by securing financial resources from foundations, corporations, individuals, and state and federal grants. Works with the Executive Director to identify, evaluate, develop and sustain strategic partnerships with local businesses, employers, community organizations and legislators that result in financial support and serve to further the mission of the Youth Job Center. In support of the development strategy, directs the marketing and communication activity to ensure consistent messaging, branding, and increased visibility and name recognition for the agency. Supervises the volunteer coordinator.
Career Pathways to Sustainable Employment - Automotive Program - Reports Outstanding Outcomes!
Job Readiness Training: All 13 participated in the 10-day JRT class administered by the Youth Job Center. Pre and post assessments indicated that 12 of the 13 participants met or exceeded the standards outlined in the job-readiness curriculum – strong indicators that the youth were successfully prepared to enter the world of work.
Subsidized work experience: Each of the 12 youth participated in a subsidized work experience; employer partners included the Autobarn, Duxler and Midas.
Education: All 12 participants completed the 8-week modified course conducted at Evanston Township High School and taught by an Oakton Community College instructor. The curriculum was developed with input from the employer partners to ensure that it included course work relevant to the work place. Participants “graduated” with certified knowledge in the area of brake maintenance and repair as well as the ability to do oil changes and basic auto maintenance and repair.
Outcomes: 7 of the 12 are currently employed full time; the expectation is the final 5 participants will be placed in permanent employment by the end of the fiscal year!