Evanston City Council to Vote on Funding for Career Advising at High School

Read an article about upcoming vote from Evanston City Council to approve grant for new ETHS Career Partnership Manager. To see the full article, please click here.

City hopes to connect more kids with careers

By Bill Smith on March 10, 2019 - 6:22pm

Evanston aldermen are scheduled to vote Monday on a $90,000 grant to the Youth Job Center designed to help more young people who don't complete college find good careers.

Data from the Illinois State Board of Education indicates that 9 percent of Evanston Township High School students drop out or otherwise fail to graduate within four years. Twenty-one percent graduate but don't pursue any further education.

The city says in a memo supporting the grant proposal that an additional 20 to 25 percent of ETHS grads start a higher education program but don't complete it.

That would leave roughly half of the nearly 800 students in each ETHS class successfully completing a college degree program.

By comparison, the Census Bureau estimates that 65 percent of all Evanston residents 25 years of age or older hold at least a bachelor's degree.

Many of the students who don't complete college have difficulty getting established in productive careers.

Under the grant, the YJC would hire a career partnership manager who would:

  • Work with the high school to provide improved career guidance to students who may not be headed to college.

  • Work with employers to improve hiring, onboarding, mentoring and development programs for new employees.

  • Work with the high school to ensure that 100 students per year are successfully placed in such career opportunities.

  • Refer ETHS alumni and young adults up to age 25 to YJC to get career advising and counseling support.

The mayor's Employer Advisory Council, formed last June and chaired by Neil Gambow, has worked with ETHS to develop a three-year strategy to build a bridge between the high school and employment opportunities.

According to the city staff memo, employment partners involved in the effort offer careers in fields including retail, healthcare, manufacturing, design, hospitality, insurance, higher education, sports and recreation, construction, administrative and clerical, and automotive repair and maintenance.

Funding for the grant would come from the annual good neighbor fund contribution provided by Northwestern University.

Ready to Work: Opportunities in Retail for Youth

Members of our program staff and development team partnered with Hope Street Group to produce a blog article about youth employment and the retail sector opportunities. See the original article here.

By Emily Stover, Ted Carroll, NuDonna Williams, and Hester Buell

Flipping hamburgers, folding shirts, ringing up customers, and scooping ice cream. These classic examples may remind you of your first job and the important lessons you carry with you to this day. Despite a recent drop in youth employment, this first job is still an essential part of many students’ learning experiences. A third of American teenagers are working, 30% of high school graduates begin their careers immediately upon graduation, and 77% of part-time college students are also punching the clock¹. A majority of those working are employed in the retail and service sectors, and in 2016 retail alone accounted for 55% of teen employment². So, what can retail and service sector leaders do to help ensure these students and new graduates start their careers off on the right foot?

Many retail and service sector employers recognize the key role they play in student’s development and have even developed specific programs serving this population. For example, Gap Inc.’s This Way Ahead program serves youth in select cities by partnering with local organizations to provide training for in-demand skills, in-store internships, and a mentor. In the greater Chicago area Gap Inc. partnered with Retail Opportunity Network member Youth Job Center (YJC) to offer this training and help area youth advance in their retail careers. YJC is dedicated to addressing the epidemic of Opportunity Youth, or young people who are disconnected from work and school. The Center’s work with young people in high schools, ages 14–18, is meant to serve as a preventative measure to this issue. A large part of YJC’s work is connecting young people to employment experiences while they are still in school, and many of these employment experiences are naturally in the retail and service sectors, where students learn essential soft skills. A positive first employment experience can have a significant impact on a young person’s trajectory, decreasing their chances of experiencing unemployment while increasing their future wage-earning potential.

Through their work, YJC has found employer partnerships to be essential to the process of helping youth kick start their careers. Employers, including YJC’s partners Wintrust and Lettuce Entertain You, are dedicated to helping youth overcome barriers to success and work with YJC to customize trainings to their specific needs as well as working closely with career advisors and clients to better understand the barriers that many employed youth experience. A prime example of this type of collaboration is YJC’s work with Wintrust Bank, which has yielded work-readiness trainings that focus on positive communication skills, basic financial literacy, conflict resolution skills, understanding the workplace culture of a financial institution, and more. This collaboration allows YJC to provide youth with personalized training that improves training effectiveness and provides YJC, the client, and employer the opportunity to address any workplace issues before they reach the point where termination of employment is necessary. This deep level of collaboration and support provides young people with valuable work experience before they ever leave high school, helping them build a foundational set of skills that they can utilize for the rest of their lives.

How has YJC maintained such powerful employer collaborations? Some of their best practices developed over the years include building a strong relationship with employer partners, knowing the employers’ culture, having clear pathways for youth’s growth with the employer, and plugging training programs into existing employer structures such as management training. YJC also invites employers into schools to meet students and help them learn about career pathways and options at school hiring fairs.

Since retail and service sector employers play an outsize role in employing today’s youth and that first job can set an employee along a trajectory towards success, it is essential that students are equipped with the skills they need to thrive in these roles and employers understand the youth they’re hiring. Partnerships between employers and local organizations such as YJC are one great way of ensuring young people are matched with great jobs and employers benefit from great employees. You can learn more about advancing frontline retail and service sector workers by following the Retail Opportunity Network via #RetailOpportunity or #youth #ourfuture.

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 2017
² “Employment Trends: Teens in Retail”, Allison Zeller, National Retail Federation.

Emily Stover is Hope Street Group’s Manager, Jobs and Economic Opportunity. Follow her via Twitter @EmilyStover34.

Ted Carroll is Youth Job Center’s Manager, Grants and Communications.

NuDonna Williams is Youth Job Center’s In-School Youth Partners Program Manager.

Hester Buell is Youth Job Center’s High School Career Advisor.

Youth Job Center Hosts Lecture with Noted Experts to Discuss Opportunity Youth and Underlying Issues Regarding Youth Development, Work Readiness, and Work Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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CHICAGO (February 22, 2019) – On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Youth Job Center (YJC) hosted an inaugural lecture regarding youth development and post-secondary planning and the underlying causes of youth unemployment. In conjunction with the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois – Chicago and the Early College and Career Office at Chicago Public Schools, YJC convened a panel discussion to reflect on the status of opportunity youth and the challenges and barriers they face in regard to access and equity in post-secondary planning and long-term success.

Our long-term goals and strategic planning include expansion plans for programs and services that have the potential to address the underlying causes of youth unemployment. The panel “Multiple Choice” invited meaningful discussions and thoughtful reflections about how we have reached this point, what we need to do, and how we can collectively impact the future. With an audience composed of legislators, community organizers, nonprofit administrators, industry leaders, employer partners, and committed stakeholders, the forum presented an opportunity to create a plan of action to truly identify and address these societal inequalities that systemically oppress those it seeks to help. Led by Frank Adams, a YJC Board member and Starbucks human resources executive, Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri, Executive Director of Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Early College and Career Education, and Dr. Teresa Cordova, Director of the Great Cities Institute at UIC, the event discussed the significant barriers Opportunity Youth in Chicago experience in relation to employment and career planning and advancement.

The mission of Youth Job Center (YJC) is, “Success for young people, in the workplace and in life.” We envision a future where all young people have the support to build a meaningful career and fulfill their potential, and for the last 35 years have worked to make that vision a reality. 

YJC provides high-quality programs at the intersection of youth development, workforce development, and career planning. We focus on helping clients develop the patience, self-efficacy, and confidence they need to adjust their plans over time. YJC’s work is grounded in experiential learning; it is in the process of seeking and experiencing that clients make good choices toward career success. YJC programs address the challenges youth face in understanding what opportunities exist for them by focusing on the breadth of viable post-secondary options and helping them develop actionable plans for career advancement.

To learn more about the event please click here

Media Contact:

Katy Murphy
Director of Individual Giving
Youth Job Center
1114 Church Street
Evanston, Illinois 60201
847.864.5627
kmurphy@youthjobcenter.org
www.youthjobcenter.org

 

January 2019 Client of the Month

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Dayan

Age: 18
Position:
Store Associate
Employer:
TJ Maxx
Employed:
January 2019

Dayan “Day” reached out to YJC for help because he was overworked and underappreciated by his long-term employer. He knew it was time to leave, but he needed a part-time job to sustain and support himself while working diligently to finish high school. He knew he couldn’t afford a gap in pay and asked YJC’s M. Nelsen to help with the planning and timing of this transition to new employment.

 While working with Day during Work Readiness Training and one-on-one career advising, YJC’s Employer and Partner Relations Manager, Julia Brownfield, & M noticed that Day not only had an excellent work ethic, but he had an aptitude for excellent customer service. M knew that an internship at TjMaxx in Evanston would be the perfect placement for him. Also, knowing that this particular location has had and continues to have higher expectations for whom they offer permanent employment, he began his internship at the end of Nov. 2018. Two weeks following, the general manager of TjMaxx offered Day a permanent position!

Days long-term goal is to work in the IT field, potentially doing Cyber Security. M will continue to support Day as he works toward this goal, first by earning his High School Diploma at an alternative school, then enrolling in Year Up. In the meantime,  Day is enjoying his job  at TJ Maxx and putting smiles on customer’s faces. Keep up the good work Day!

December 2018 Client of the Month

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Raieana

Age: 18
Position: Sales Associate
Employer: Ross Dress for Less
Employed Since:  December 2018

Raieana is a Senior at Mather High School where she has daily seminar classes and learns about the various post-secondary pathways available to her when she graduates high school.  Raieana aspires to attend a college or university in Fall 2019, and after learning about the cost of college told her Career Advisor that she wanted to get ahead and start saving money for college now by getting a part-time job.

Together, Raieana and her Youth Job Center Career Advisor, who works on-site at Mather High School, reviewed job openings and discussed the materials she would need to succeed in both applying, and in the interview.  Raieana and her Career Advisor had one-on-one career advising sessions where they developed a professional resume and filled out online applications together, as well as completed a mock interview to ensure Raieana was ready for her in-person interview. 

Soon after Raieana developed her resume and completed some online job applications, she was referred to a hiring event with an on-the-spot interview by her YJC Career Advisor with.  Though she was not successful at gaining a job from the hiring event, she was still very determined to find work. Raieana  continued to apply to stores that were hiring in the area around Mather High School, on her own, and kept her Career Advisor updated if she had received any calls or landed an interview.  While she was on holiday break, she got an interview at Ross Dress for Less where she was successfully hired on and began training at the end of December! Great work Raieana!

November 2018 Client of the Month

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Tamera

Age: 20
Position: Universal Banker
Employer: Wintrust Bank
Employed Since: March 2018

Tamera was referred to the Youth Job Center by the City of Evanston Youth & Young Adult Outreach Team in January of 2018. Tamera was 19 years old and after talking and spending time with Tamera, the YJC staff quickly recognized that Tamera was committed to her success. The YJC staff also noticed that Ms. Boston was very bright, educated, well spoken, and had a deep desire to go into the banking profession. YJC connected Tamera with Wintrust Bank in March 2018, where Tamera worked hard and built a great relationship with her peers and supervisors, and in September 2018 Ms. Boston was promoted to Universal Banker with a salary increase.

“I love my team. I have amazing and understanding co-workers that make the sometimes stressful job very much worth it.”

Congratulations to Ms. Boston! You have made us all so proud of you.

Youth Job Center partners with City of Evanston and Community Partners on exciting employment opportunities.

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The Youth Job Center is partnering with the City of Evanston’s Youth & Young Adult Division, Mayor’s Employer Advisory Council, Evanston / Skokie School District 65, Connections for the Homeless, Curt’s Café, Erie Family Health Centers, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, PEER Services, and Youth & Opportunity United to provide some exciting employment opportunities over the course of the next few months.

For more information about the positions that are available please visit our Join Our Team page. Please check back often as more positions will become available over the course of the next few weeks.

October 2018 Client of the Month

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Michael

Age: 18
Position: Greeter
Employer: Chicago Architecture Center
Employed: October 2018

Michael is currently a Senior at Curie High School where he attends daily Seminar classes and learns about Post Secondary pathways/options available to him. After learning about the importance of Post Secondary planning, Michael immediately set an important goals for himself - getting a job.

Michael shared this goal with his Youth Job Center Career Advisor, NuDonna Williams, who works on-site at Curie High School in partnership with the school’s teachers and staff. Together, Michael and NuDonna sat down and discussed his previous work experiences and explored possible employment opportunities. Michael then completed a one-on-one job readiness training and developed a professional resume that highlights his previous work along with his current skills.

Soon after Michael completed his job readiness training and resume revisions he submitted several applications. Michael’s Career Advisor also referred him to a couple hiring events in hopes that he would get a chance for an on-the-spot interview or even an immediate job offer.

Unfortunately, Michael was unsuccessful at obtaining a job through the hiring events he attended and reported back to his Career Advisor with the disappointing news. Together they began the job search process, using multiple job-search engines in an effort to create a multi-prong employment search strategy.

Just as he completed a few more job applications, Michael received a call from an employer that was impressed with his application and extended an invitation for an interview on a Saturday morning.

Michael attended the interview, and finally, on the following Tuesday morning, he reported back to his Career Advisor that he got the job and would start working at the Chicago Architecture Center! Michael’s not only employed at the Chicago Architecture Center but he’s also continuing schooling and has added becoming an Architect to his Post Secondary plan!!

Way to keep at it, Michael!

September 2018 Client of the Month

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Age: 18
Position: Hostess
Employer: Food Life Restaurant
Employed: August 2018

Alexis is an alumni from Gage Park High School and now attends National Louis University. She was very excited about her new role as a “College Student”, but just like other students, Alexis realized that she needed a job!

Alexis knew that she really didn’t have much past work experience and needed some real help, and support, with her job search. She reached out to her Career Advisor from the Youth Job Center and together they made appointments to meet for one-on-one job readiness workshops.

The Career Advisor worked with Alexis on her resume and helped her understand the importance of being able to describe some of the skills and knowledge from her prior work into a current and relevant description of her capabilities and qualifications, which resulted in her having a better resume to send out to employers.

After a couple weeks of looking for work Alexis got a phone call from an employer to come in for an interview downtown. She went to the initial interview and was told to come back the next day for a second interview.

Finally, after a little more coaching from her Career Advisor Alexis attended her second interview! Afterwards she was notified she had gotten the job!

Alexis is not only excited about being a full-time college student at National Louis but also a college student with a job as a hostess at Food Life Restaurant at Water Tower Place  in Downtown Chicago!

Way to go Alexis!