High School Programs

Youth Job Center is focused on helping students successfully transition out of high school immediately after graduation, a factor with the potential to reduce significant employment barriers later in life. YJC's current High School Program, called YJC@, is delivered at three satellite locations:

Each site offers the foundational set of Job-Readiness Training services, advising, and other support. In 2015-16, YJC integrated much of this work into classrooms at all three sites, through seminar and Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes. At Gage Park and Sullivan High School, YJC works with Umoja Student Development Corporation and other youth service agencies to provide a comprehensive curriculum for college & career planning for all high school students.

In addition, YJC provides support after school, hosts recruiting opportunities with employers, and provides connections to careers through field trips, internships, and job shadowing.

Summer Corps

In 2016, YJC’s Summer Tutors program and other summer employment opportunities for high school will be rolled into Summer Corps. The new structure encompasses a variety of opportunities for high school students, including the following:

  • Summer Tutors: Youth are employed as tutors and classroom aides to assist teachers in Evanston’s District 65 summer school program, serving elementary and middle school students.
  • ABC Boosters: High school students are employed as tutor/mentors, assisting teachers in District 65’s Jumpstart program in partnership with Evanston Public Library’s summer literacy program, which serves preschool-aged children. This program focuses on opportunities for 14 and 15 year olds.
  • Junior Counselors (JCs): Youth are employed as junior camp counselors at community summer camps.
  • Corporate Internships: Youth are placed in paid internships to gain work experience in a corporate business environment.
  • This Way Ahead (TWA) Program: Funded by the Gap Foundation, this program is a multi-week job-readiness program that helps youth gain the skills and confidence necessary to prepare for and experience their first jobs with defined opportunity for career growth.

Bridge Programs

Summer Institute

Summer Institute is a six-week career exploration and placement program for high school graduates. YJC staff incorporate foundational job-readiness skill training with intensive career exploration to help participants develop a tangible career path plan. Each plan will incorporate the participant's skills, aptitudes, and interests with the goal of pursuing post-secondary training and/or employment.

In addition to ongoing support and mentorship from YJC staff through the following year, participants will receive a stipend of up to $800 for their participation in Summer Institute. Each participant's career path plan will also address the immediate need for income by providing access to subsidized internships and direct job placement opportunities.

Out of School Youth Programs

Job-Readiness Training (JRT):

YJC provides Job-Readiness Training (JRT) as a series of integrated workshops that teach both hard and soft skills to as many as 20 youth per cohort. Sessions include topics such as workplace expectations, resume development, interviewing techniques, professionalism, conflict resolution, self-esteem, and work ethic. The overarching goal of JRT is to help youth build and practice the skills that are required in the workplace.

Career Pathways Program

In 2014, YJC implemented its first cohort Career Pathways Program: 10-12 participants in a multi-week training course that leads to certification. The goal of the Career Pathways Program is permanent employment in a career track job with advancement opportunities. Training includes development of soft and hard skills, including skills-specific training in a particular area. The program includes subsidized internships, during which youth both work and participate in the training program to build skills while learning.

To date, cohort programs have included:

  • Auto Maintenance and Repair – spring 2014
  • Auto Maintenance and Repair – spring 2015
  • Culinary – spring 2015
  • Retail/Customer Service – spring 2015 (in partnership with The Gap Foundation’s This Way Ahead Program)
  • Information Technology (IT) – summer 2015 (in partnership with National Able)
  • Customer Service – summer 2015 (in partnership with National Able)
  • Auto Maintenance and Repair – fall 2015
  • Culinary – fall 2015
  • Auto Maintenance and Repair – spring 2016

In addition, YJC provides individual Career Pathways Programs in Healthcare and Manufacturing. We intend to expand opportunities in Healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing training programs.

Lasting Impact Initiative

YJC's Lasting Impact Initiative is a retention-focused pilot program that supports youth placed in entry-level customer service and retail positions to continue on the path to living-wage jobs with career advancement opportunities.

Youth work with Career Advisors to build a Career Advancement Plan that incorporates resources, guidance and training to help youth establish tangible goals that will lead to career path development and advancement. Ongoing professional support meetings will focus on career exploration, financial literacy and job skills.

The program is generously funded by Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance's Customer Service Career Pathways grant.

Job Fairs

YJC hosts two job fairs each year. Each spring there is also an additional job fair, in partnership with the City of Evanston, for high school students seeking summer employment. The YJC Fall Job Fair partners with employers looking to fill seasonal holiday positions, while the Spring Job Fair does the same for employers whose peak season is in the summer. YJC also supports the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program Job Fair, held at ETHS every spring, by providing training and staffing support.