Sharing information, strategies, and results. Collaboration grows at the speed of trust.

YJC Executive Director Karen Demorest speaking with a youth at the Evanston Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program job fair in spring 2019.

YJC Executive Director Karen Demorest speaking with a youth at the Evanston Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program job fair in spring 2019.

Dear friends, partners, supporters, and community,

At YJC we have an amazing and dedicated staff (check them out here) that strive to continuously improve, taking lessons learned and integrating them into our work. This approach leads to strong and effective programs that are always evolving to better serve the young people we serve. By working with young people who face a variety of barriers and come from an incredibly diverse range of backgrounds we learn new lessons every day. One of the most important being that we cannot be successful in our work without strong partnerships with other agencies.

The youth we serve have often experienced more barriers in their young lives than many of us will experience throughout the course of our entire lives, usually due to circumstances outside their control and through no fault of their own. For some those barriers might include inequitable access to information about career opportunities. For others it might be lacking the financial resources, such as a savings account, to weather life’s many storms. Or perhaps they don’t have a parent, guardian, or even mentor that is in their corner, helping them work through challenges when they arise. For many youth it is all of the above, together.

Part of our work at YJC is ensuring that we become that network of support, sharing knowledge, coaching, and being a champion for these young people. But sometimes that responsibility also comes with the understanding that to truly serve these young people we need to refer them to other organizations that can provide them with the support and resources their individual situations demand.

In Evanston, YJC is involved In Evanston Cradle to Career which has strengthened and solidified partnerships throughout the community. We also partner closely with Evanston Township High School and the Mayor’s Employer Advisory Council to build bridges to careers for young people as they graduate from high school. And in Chicago, we work with Thrive Chicago and other agencies to make sure we can provide access to the resources young people need.

In that spirit of collaboration, YJC is proud to announce its participation in a new partnership, the Evanston Alliance. This new alliance is a joint effort between Youth Job Center, National Able Network, the City of Evanston Youth and Young Adult division, the Mayor’s Employer Advisory Council (MEAC), and Evanston Cradle to Career. Supported by a grant received from the Evanston Community Foundation in May 2019, the purpose of the Evanston Alliance is to work toward sustainable change in our community’s workforce development agencies. This partnership will embed collaboration and alignment in outreach, training, placement, data collection and share results with Evanston citizens. The result of the initial grant will be a detailed evaluation of the local economy, determining what community services exist and developing an implementation plan that outlines strengths of the organizations in our community and how people can connect to support and resources as needed to move into careers. Through this work we aim to develop a seamless coordination of workforce development services, available to ALL Evanston residents. Together, we will change how we support residents in employment, ensuring that as a community we no longer leave people behind.

We invite participation from other workforce development partners who serve the Evanston community, for more information, call (847) 864-5627 ext 25.  Together we can build a better community, one job at a time.


Karen T. Demorest
Executive Director