September 2019 Client of the Month



Age: 20
Position: Prep Cook
10Q Chicken
September 2019

Congratulations to our September client of the month, Josue! Josue has made tremendous progress on his educational and employment goals. He is employed as a Prep Cook at 10Q Chicken in Evanston and attends G.E.D. prep classes at Oakton Community College twice a week. Josue is moving full-steam ahead toward his goals and spends every day of the week either at school or at work.

Josue’s path to success has not been without significant challenges to overcome. Josue came to Youth Job Center after a set of difficult experiences motivated him to seek out another path for his life. During his first meeting, he shared with his Career Advisor that he has been on his own for a long time and that he’s lost too many people he cares about for him to stay on the path he was on. Over time, he worked with his Career Advisor to create a vision for his life that aligned with his interests, values, and goals. He was able to pursue a variety of paid work experiences that lead to his discovery of his aptitude for culinary arts. Josue completed the training program at Curt’s Café and was able to leverage his customer service and food preparation skills into his current position with a local Evanston restaurant.

Through an incredible amount of strength and resilience, Josue did the work of learning new professional and social-emotional skills necessary to start building the life he wants and deserves.

These milestones are just the beginning! Josue is planning to continue his education and training in the culinary field to advance his career. Youth Job Center looks forward to continuing to partner with Josue on his journey.

August 2019 Client of the Month



Age: 23
Position: Brand Associate
Old Navy - Chicago Ridge
August 2019

On June 16, 2019 the Gap Foundation partnered with Youth Job Center to provide the “This Way Ahead” Program for the fifth straight year. This year the program placed over 170 youth from throughout the Chicagoland area in 10 week Internship for youth.  This Way Ahead provides youth with a paid internship that coaches them in learning excellent customer service skills that are critical for success in the workplace and can be transferred to a wide range of employment opportunities, allowing youth to continue building on these valuable skills throughout their continued post-secondary career journey.

One young adult named Justin Bonds was actually awarded the opportunity and this is Justin’s perspective on what he says the This Way Ahead Program did for him.

“The This Way Ahead program was truly beneficial to me in regards to my growth, not only as an individual, but as a person in the workforce as well. The managers at our Chicago Ridge store, including Sharonda, Carl, Kristen, amongst many others, showed myself and my associates ways to improve our efficiency as both workers and individuals in a way that few others could. For some, it was their first ever job and a way to break people out of their shell in regards to talking with customers and other associates, and providing the best customer service possible. For myself, I learned ways to be a more sociable and efficient person on the sales floor, something that I still would struggle with at times even with prior Retail experience. I am also so thankful to this program and Sharonda for giving me the opportunity and recommending me for a position in Loss Prevention, giving me a great opportunity to further my work experience and dive into something that could potentially be a career for me. Without this program and the amazing job coach and managers involved, I may not have had the opportunities and knowledge that I gained during these past couple of months.”


July 2019 Client of the Month



Age: 16
Position: This Way Ahead Intern
Gap Inc.
June 2019

Caleb will be a junior at Mather High School this fall, and began working with YJC in April of 2019. Expressing interest in a first job with the Gap Inc This Way Ahead internship, Caleb attended a four day after-school training led by his career advisor Molly Berg and various managers of Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores. Upon completing the training, Caleb landed an interview and a week later was excited to accept the offer. Caleb began working with the Gap as a Sales Associate in mid-June, and after less than a month of working there, he was named his store’s “Employee of the Month” being the first intern to ever be awarded this title! Caleb is very motivated and helpful to all customers that come into the store, and has received multiple positive feedback reports from online surveys Gap customers have taken! His manager Courtney describes him as “dependable, pleasant to work with, and always having a positive attitude as well as responding well when challenged to step outside of his comfort zone.” When asked, Caleb says his favorite part about working at the store is “knowing that he can have support anytime and see new faces.” Congratulations Caleb and keep up the great work!

Evanston Alliance collaborates to improve workforce development in our community.

Evanston (July 2019) – On Thursday, May 30, an Evanston Workforce Alliance was awarded a $20,000 Responsive Grant from the Evanston Community Foundation. This award will support multiple organizations to work toward sustainable change in our community’s workforce development agencies, and embed collaboration and alignment in outreach, training, placement, data collection and sharing results for citizens of Evanston.

The result of this initial grant will be an evaluation of the local economy, defining a living wage in Evanston, what community services exist, and an implementation plan that outlines strengths of the organizations in our community as well as how people can connect to support as needed to move into careers with local employers. 

Our goal is a seamless coordination of workforce development for Evanston. Together, we can change HOW we work so all young people in our community have the opportunity to move into meaningful and living-wage careers.

Kevin Brown, Community Services Manager with the City of Evanston: “We are excited to collaborate on this initiative. We know that there are strong programs in our community, but we know we can do a better job working across our agencies to support every person in our community. The unrealized potential of any person is intolerable, and we are committed to making sure that doesn’t happen here.”

Workforce Alliance members currently are Evanston Cradle to Career, Youth Job Center, Inc., National Able Network, the Mayor’s Employer Advisor Council, and the City of Evanston. Other workforce development agencies are invited to join us in this effort.

For more information about the Alliance, call or email a Workforce Alliance member organization.

For more information about the Request for Proposal, contact Neil Gambow, Mayor’s Employment Advisory Council,


Media Contact
Ted Carroll
Grants & Communications Manager
Youth Job Center
1114 Church Street
Evanston, Illinois 60201

June 2019 Client of the Month



Age: 22
Position: Kitchen Assistant Intern
Two Sisters Catering
May 2019

Carletta’s love for cooking southern inspired cuisines is why Carletta became a culinary participant at YJC. From February 2019 through May 2019, Carletta attended weekly culinary classes with Chef Q at Evanston Township High School and learned the intricacies of ingredient measurements, event prepping and kitchen sanitation. On May 28, 2019, Carletta successfully fulfilled all the requirements needed to obtain her Fundamentals of Culinary Arts Certificate! Since then, Carletta has successfully been placed as a Kitchen Assistant Intern with Two Sisters Catering and will begin her new culinary journey in the hands of Chef Veah V. Larde. Carletta will be learning about building her own soul food business and how to create southern cuisine in hopes on one day opening her own business. It is with great enthusiasm that we applaud Carletta for never giving up on her dreams.


May 2019 Client of the Month



Age: 24
Position: Prep Cook Intern
Viet Nam Nam
May 2019

Tiffani first came to YJC in January of 2019 and expressed wanting to pursue a career in Culinary. In partnership with YJC and Oakton Community College, Tiffani attended weekly culinary classes with Chef Q at Evanston Township High School from February 2019 through May 2019. On May 28, 2019, Tiffani successfully fulfilled all the requirements needed to obtain her Fundamentals of Culinary Arts Certificate! During that time, Tiffani excelled tremendously and was successfully placed in an internship as a Prep Cook at Viet Nom Nom in Evanston where she received constant mentorship from Alan Moy. Due to her work ethic, culinary skills and passion, Tiffani received a job offer as a permanent full-time Prep Cook at Viet Nom Nom once her internship is completed. Congratulations Tiffani for making your dreams a reality!

April 2019 Client of the Month



Age: 18
Position: Retail Sales Associate
Minouchic Boutique
April 2019

Congratulations to our client of the month, Andika!  Andika is a recent Haitian Immigrant who recently settled in Evanston, IL.  Andika was motivated to intergrate into the Evanston Community and begin employment but she had not yet mastered the English language.  We welcomed her into the YJC house anyway.  We were able to provide a customized training for Andika in her native languages French and Haitian -Creole.  Andika put in extra effort and hours and she graduated from WRT.

Andika expressed an interest in retail, fashion, and customer service.  While crafting her resume, Julia (employer relations manager) focused on her transferrable interpersonal skills which translated to excellent customer service which shines through in any language. Andika, armed with her newly acquired skills and professional resume began her search for employment with her career advisor, Len Felton.  Len worked his resources and was able to secure an internship for Andika with Minouchic Boutique, owned by a longtime Haitian-American Evanston Resident.  Perfect Match!

Andika now welcomes customers into Minouchic Boutique and practices her English skills while assisting customers with purchasing unique outfits.

We couldn’t be more excited for Andika, and more proud of what she has accomplished.  Way to go Andika!


March 2019 Client of the Month

Isabella - high quality.png


Age: 25
Position: Office Manager
Patch Landscaping
April 2019

Isabella came to YJC in October 2018 because she was tired of being overworked and underpaid as a temp. She hoped to find a career path where she could not only support herself and her young son, but she could have personal fulfillment. During career exploration with YJC she discovered that she wanted to pursue a career in office management. Having been motivated by this discovery, Isabella persevered through multiple  barriers until she was successfully placed in an internship at Edgewater Chamber of Commerce. Weeks before the internship was scheduled to end, through hard work and self advocacy, Isabella had successfully networked to get an interview as an office manager at Patch Landscaping in Edgewater. She followed up the interview with a thank you email, and in the response from Patch received a job offer to start the next day. Within a few months, and lots of hard work, Isabella has succeeded in reaching her goal. Congratulations Isabella!


February 2019 Client of the Month

Briana cropped.jpg


Position: Facilities Management
March 2019

Congratulations to our client of the month, Briana! Briana is a senior at Wells Community Academy, and although she is very active at her school and has been chosen as a student leader, she was having difficulty finding a job because of her lack of previous job experience. Briana reached out to her career advisor Hester Buell for help finding job openings and showed a lot of initiative in pursuing those opportunities. Her career advisor helped Briana highlight her transferrable skills in her resume and become more confident interviewing. Briana attended as many workshops and hiring events as she could, and even when the job leads didn’t work out, she kept applying and perfecting her interviewing skills. Finally, in February Briana applied to Sodexo’s Facilities Management internship – a paid week-long internship that helps students learn how to oversee corporate workspaces. The interviewers were impressed with Briana’s poise and positive attitude, and they offered her the position! Briana will be working during spring break, and may have the opportunity to continue her work throughout the summer. Sodexo also offers to pay for a degree in Facilities Management to students who complete both the week-long internship and the summer internship. We couldn’t be more excited for Briana, and more proud of all that she’s accomplished! Way to go Briana!