Dr. Teresa Córdova (left), Frank Adams (center), and Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri (right) at the Multiple Choice event.

Dr. Teresa Córdova (left), Frank Adams (center), and Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri (right) at the Multiple Choice event.

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.

Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri presenting information around the importance of education and post-secondary planning for young people.

Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri presenting information around the importance of education and post-secondary planning for young people.

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.


Dr. Teresa Córdova


Dr. Teresa Córdova is the Director of the Great Cities Institute (GCI) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and an affiliate faculty of UIC’s Departments of Sociology; Gender and Women Studies; and Latino and Latin American Studies. Teresa has a long history of working in coalitions, especially Black/Latino and people of color coalitions.

Dr. Córdova has been an elected and appointed member and/or chair of national, regional and local boards, commissions and steering committees of federal, regional, county and city governments, community development corporations, grassroots organizations, editorial boards, research centers, professional associations, planning organizations, policy groups, civic and advisory councils, coalitions and campus committees. She has been instrumental in affecting economic development policy and projects, the provision and design of infrastructure, local governance, and neighborhood change.

In October 2018, Dr. Córdova presented at a public forum at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, on a panel hosted by Ecuador’s Ambassador Permanente to the WTO, Diego Aulesia Valencia, on “International Trade, Technological Change, and Development: The Role of Social Policy.”

Dr. Córdova has received multiple recognitions for academic achievement and leadership including recognition of her role in infrastructure planning and in developing a small business incubator and commercial kitchen. Teresa is a featured speaker at conferences, symposia, and community events locally, nationally and internationally.

Dr. Córdova served on the transition committee for Governor J.B. Pritzker on Job Creation and Economic Opportunity. Currently, she serves on the Cook County Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC); the Board of Directors of Manufacturing Renaissance; The Illinois Humanities Council; Illinois Voices for Children’s Thought Leaders of Color Advisory Committee; and the Board of Director of LUCHA (Latino United Community Housing Association). She has particular expertise in the area of economic development via her work as a policy maker, community economic development planner, and researcher.

Professor Córdova received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri


Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri is the former high school principal and current Executive Director of Early College and Career Education in Chicago Public Schools. As an educational leader, she strives to provide students with a well-rounded education with attention to rigorous academics, social emotional learning and robust opportunities for post-secondary success. She effectively engages all stakeholders in accomplishing this task. During her tenure as principal, Wells Community Academy saw tremendous growth in all fronts. Now, Rita serves students at the district level. 

Rita began her career in education as a classroom teacher in a high needs neighborhood middle school in Northern California. Her hands on approach to pedagogy and high expectations of her students led them to achieve some of the highest gains in the district, garnering her several awards and recognitions. During her years as a teacher she was also actively engaged in various leadership opportunities within her school. She subsequently moved to the district office to lead special initiatives around building the leadership capacity of teachers. She moved to Chicago to join the newly formed Office of Performance. Her primary role was to help principals systematically build the capacity of their teacher leaders in order to improve student outcomes. Rita led several key district initiatives around adult learning during her time in the Office of Professional Learning.

Rita believes that education is the primary equalizer of various social justice issues that our communities face today. She is passionate about providing our next generation with quality education and life options so that they may break the cycle of poverty for their families and communities while learning to be contributing members of society. Although not a Chicago native, she has fallen in love with this city and considers it her home. She wants to see all the students of Chicago Public Schools be successful.

Frank Adams


Frank Adams is accountable for providing HR leadership (staffing, compensation, training, employee relations & talent development) for a region of over 750 stores/15,000 partners in the Midwest, which includes stores in the following states; Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa and Ohio.  Frank supports a Vice President (and his team of Directors) while leading a team of five (regional HR Managers and a HR Coordinator).

Frank has been with Starbucks for over 9 years and has supported the following markets; Northeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New York. Frank has been a coffee master since 2013 and has mentored 6 partners on their coffee journey. Frank believes building networks inside and outside of work are critical. To that end, Frank has worked with external military organizations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, Hispanic/Latino professional organizations in Boston, Pittsburgh and Chicago as well as the urban league in Boston and Chicago. Internally at Starbucks, Frank started the first Armed Forces Network in the field at Starbucks (today over 6 exist in the U.S.) along with assisting and influencing many other internal partner networks in multiple regions (Black Partner Network, Hora del café, Women’s Development and PRIDE).

Prior to Starbucks, Frank was an HR leader at Reebok/Adidas supporting the sports license business for Reebok/Adidas apparel and headwear. From 2000-2007, he was an HR leader at Cole Haan (formerly of the Nike family) supporting retail, corporate functions and supply chain. While at Cole Haan, he launched the company’s first Internship program which he led for 4 years and the program maintained a +30% conversion rate of interns to staff positions. Frank first got into HR in 1997 for a local airline in Michigan where he served as the Labor Relations Specialist and later as the Drug & Alcohol Manager.

Frank has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Sociology from the University of Michigan and has completed a year of graduate work from the University of Southern Maine in Adult Education. From 1990-1993, Frank served in the U.S. Army in the U.S. and overseas in Germany and in the Middle East during the Desert Shield/Storm conflict.

As a child, Frank grew up in Detroit, MI and currently lives in Evanston, IL.