August 2018 Client of the Month

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Age: 19
Position: CNA
Employer: Woodbridge Nursing Pavilion
Employed:  March 2018

Brinity started working with Youth Job Center following her graduation from Robeson High School. Despite graduating with  high honors, Brinity did not have a clear post-secondary plan developed when she left school.

Brinity enrolled in YJC’s Bridge Program the summer following high school graduation where she worked on defining her career goals and increasing her academic skills needed to continue education in the healthcare field. From there, Brinity enrolled in YJC’s Career Pathways program where she was able to complete a Nursing Assistant training program and become a state certified nursing assistant. Brinity did so well during the clinical portion of her training program, she was offered a position with the nursing home hosting the clinicals before she even graduated. Brinity still works at Woodbridge Nursing Pavilion as a CNA. Brinity said she doesn’t mind the long hours and hard work required for the job because she likes being able to develop relationships with the patients and provide a kind of “family support” that many of them don’t have anymore.

The final career goal that YJC is assisting Brinity with is enrolling in post-secondary education. Because she obtained her CNA certificate prior to enrolling in school, Brinity was able to enroll in an accelerated program at Malcom X College to obtain her Associate in Applied Science in Nursing to be a Registered Nurse. Brinity expects to graduate within 2 years and move into a hospital setting. At this point, Brinity is enrolled in school full-time, working part-time and on her way achieving all of her career goals.

Brinity’s journey is remarkable considering the lack of traditional supports she has received while working toward her career goals compared to many of her peers.  Her own motivation, self-discipline, and perseverance are to credit for much of her success at this point.  There were so many steps in the process that many people might experience as routine that Brinity had to move mountains to  accomplish. Although not quite at the finish line yet, Brinity is on her way to a career in a high-paying field with unlimited possibilities to advance. When her Career Advisor asked her what has kept her going so far: “I just can’t settle or stop moving. Nobody is going to do it for me”. Her Career Advisor agreed and asked her to remember the little guys when she’s running a hospital one day.

Way to go, Brinity!

July 2018 Client of the Month


Age: 18
Position: Busser/Runner
Employer: Grand Lux Cafe

Cruz has recently graduated as the 2018 Class Valedictorian from Gage Park High School.

In his academic career he has always been a frontrunner for advocacy for others as he campaigned with organizations like Student With Voices. He fully understands the dynamics of the equity theory alongside those that can help with putting policies in play with efforts to assist young adults that need better opportunities as he presented the Community Leader Award to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in April 2018.

But when Cruz decided that he wanted to do more than some “odd jobs” for financial self-sufficiency while making his plans to transitioning to college-he had to become his own self advocate.

He reached out to his YJC Career Advisor that assisted him while he attended Gage Park to ask if he was still eligible for assistance with finding employment and learned he was through their OSY Program.

Finally, after some resume review and a job lead from YJC’s Job Developer, Cruz attended a hiring event where he states, “There was plenty of people. But I went in, I got interviewed. They hurried me to another room to fill an online application. After which I was told to come back tomorrow with a State ID and my Social.”

Cruz is currently working as a Busser/Runner at the Grand Lux Café in downtown Chicago where he says, “Work is great! I am very happy here. I will be switching to a line cook by end of August! Thank you for the opportunity!”

Keep up the great work, Cruz!

June 2018 Client of the Month

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Age: 18
Position: Concession Cashier
Employer: Sodexo - Shedd Aquarium
Employed: Just Hired

Kaylan attends Gage Park High School. Kaylan has Seminar classes everyday where she is engaged in a social/emotional curriculum layered with job readiness training.

Kaylan mentioned to her Career Advisor that she was currently working at McDonalds where she was not getting sufficeent working hours for the amount of time that she has to commute to the job. She also mentioned that due to the fact that the employer was located in the south suburban area, she was being paid less than Chicago’s minimum wage salary. Then after a recent traumatic personal experience that caused some necessary recovery time, Kaylan expressed that she felt undervalued upon her return to the workplace and was ready to find new employment.

Kaylan alongside her Career Advisor set down to do resume review and complete several applications together. Kaylan was also referred to the Youth Job Center recent partner “Dress for Success” in effort to assist her with interviewing suiting after she received a telephone call inviting her to come in for an interview!

Prior to her interview Kaylan worked closely with Career Advisor to ensure that she was provided with some instructions on interviewing skills as well as some practice opportunities in efforts to help her feel secure with basic employability skills.

Finally, after her interview, Kaylan called her Career Advisor and stated that she was offered the job on the spot, would receive an offer letter  and a time for her to return for her orientation as a Cashier with Sodexo/Magic Shed Aquarium!

Kaylan is truly grateful for all the support and help through YJC services and her newest job and all the opportunities it will offer!

Way to go Kaylan!

May 2018 Client of the Month


Age: 25
Position: Security Officer
Employer: Grasmere Place
Employed: 3 Months

Antonio is a participant of the WIOA program. Antonio began coming to Youth Job Center in February of 2018. After completing our Work Readiness Training and identifying areas of strengths, career advisors assisted him creating a goal plan to become a Security Officer.

Antonio completed a 20 hr. Unarmed Security Officer Certification. After successfully obtaining his PERC Card, he was offered multiple positions. He was able to select the highest paying position. Despite all of Antonio’s personal barriers, he has maintained professionalism and a strong work ethic which lead to a promotion and raise during his short tenure with Grasmere Place.

Working  as a Security Officer at Grasmere Place exposed Antonio to the need for high quality caretakers for people with mental illnesses and the elderly. As next steps, Antonio plans to pursue training program within healthcare field.

Keep up the great work, Antonio!

Looking for a Job? Check out the Spring Job Fair!

For anyone in Evanston and the North Shore looking for work this summer, come join us at Youth Job Center's Spring Job Fair on Thursday May 24, 2018 from 3PM-6PM at the Y.O.U. Headquarters located at 1911 Church St. in Evanston, IL.

Register Here

If your resume needs a little work, you need interview prep, wardrobe assistance, or want to get fast-tracked on the day of the hiring event attend one of our YJC Job Fair pre-screenings on Monday May 21, 2018 OR Wednesday May 23,2018. Both pre-screenings run from 2PM-5PM and will be at the YJC headquarters at 1114 Church St. in Evanston, IL.

Thank you to all of our employer partners:
AramarkChick-fil-AChipotle Mexican GrillCVS HealthEvanston Minority Business ConsortiumNando's PERi-PERiNordstromTargetWhole Foods Market, and Youth & Opportunity United for being a part of this fantastic event and helping youth across the North Shore get access to amazing employment opportunities.

And a special thank you to our sponsors:
CEDAChicago Cook Workforce PartnershipCity of Evanston Illinois GovernmentFamily Focus EvanstonInfant Welfare Society of Evanston,and Youth & Opportunity United for making this event happen!

Together we can build a better community, one job at at a time!

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Annual Appeal Success - Thank You to our generous Supporters

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To everyone who participated in this years Annual Appeal, we here at Youth Job Center would like to extend a sincere and heart-felt THANK YOU! Due to your kindness and generosity we were able to raise over $100,000 for programs that assist youth in their pursuit of success!

For 35 Years, YJC has strived to improve the lives of youth through employment. Our work provides young people with improved job knowledge and competency, increased reliability and responsibility, greater self-confidence and interpersonal skills, positive employment experiences, and the ability to overcome obstacles as they inevitably arise. Your generosity truly makes a difference.

Support from you and others in our community enables young adults to pursue their dream job by providing them with essential tools and skills that set them up for success. For example, for the 2,200 youth served last year, we were able to:

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•    Supply 600 public transit passes so youth can access work even if it’s far from home.
•    Conduct 1,314 one-on-one career advising sessions for anyone who walks through our doors. 
•    Offer 33 job-readiness training seminars and hiring events that teach hard and soft skills such as resume development, interviewing techniques, workplace expectations, professionalism, and more. 

Thank you again for your generosity and believing as we do that employment has the power to transform lives. Together, we can empower youth to pursue the future they want and show the world that if you can dream it, you can be it.

Happy Holidays from Youth Job Center

From the Executive Director:

Building Futures. For 35 Years, YJC has strived to build futures through employment. Our work provides young people with improved job knowledge and competency, increased reliability and responsibility, greater self-confidence and interpersonal skills, positive employment experiences, and the ability to overcome obstacles as they inevitably arise.

The holidays are all about future-thinking: what is wrapped for us in that colorful paper, what awaits us in the new year, who will we celebrate with during the season. But I'm reminded that many children face challenges that put thoughts of the future behind other needs. The impact of poverty, violence, undereducation, and health can shadow the ability to find that promise of what's around the corner, or the potential of the future. For some, future-thinking is a luxury they cannot afford, as they persist through day-to-day challenges.

Making a difference. At YJC, we work every day providing opportunities, building confidence, and broadening sight lines for the future. It is the support that comes from you that provides the essential tools and skills that sets up young adults for success and enables them to pursue their dreams.

The promise of Hope. As the end of the year approaches, I would be remiss not to thank all YJC supporters for believing as we do that employment has the power to transform lives. Together, we can empower youth to pursue the future they want and show the world that if you can dream it, you can be it.

On behalf of the entire YJC staff, I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.

Karen Tollenaar Demorest

Executive Director 

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#GivingTuesday Success!

Many thanks to everyone who supported YJC on Giving Tuesday. Because of YOUR generosity we were able to raise 100% of our goal, raising more than $10,000 for young people who are on a path towards the future they want!

If you were unable to participate in #GivingTuesday, but are still interested in supporting Youth Job Center, it is never too late. Help us support youth and young adults in their pursuit of economic success and make dream jobs a reality for all!