Why It Matters

Unemployment among young adults, particularly those in low income and minority communities, continues to be a vexing societal issue. A recent report from the University of Illinois, Chicago shared the following statistics*:

  • Among 20 to 24 year olds, 59.2 percent of Blacks, 36.6 percent of Hispanic or Latinos, and 25.7 percent of Whites (non-Hispanic or Latinos) were out of work in Chicago.
  • Among 20 to 24 year olds, Chicago had a higher percentage of Blacks that were out of work than the U.S. and Illinois. 41 percent of Blacks in Chicago, 19 percent of Hispanic or Latinos, and 7 percent of Whites (non-Hispanic or Latinos) were out of school and out of work.

Youth Job Center has been providing job placement services to youth since 1983. Today, YJC serves over 1,700 youth per year across Chicago and Cook County through its job preparation and placement programs.


*Teresa L. Córdova, Ph.D., Matthew D. Wilson, Jackson C. Morsey, Lost: The Crisis of Jobless and Out of School Teens and Young Adults in Chicago, Illinois and the U.S., Great Cities Institute for University of Illinois at Chicago (January 2016).


Out of Work

Percent of 20-24 year olds in Chicago - 2014

Out of Work & Out of School

Percent of 20-24 year olds in Chicago - 2014

Research shows that a positive first job experience increases a person’s wages over his or her lifetime and reduces the likelihood of unemployment. That’s why YJC, working in multiple high schools across Chicagoland, focuses on providing this critical experience for all high school students. 

In addition to our high school programs, we are committed to helping 18 to 25 year-olds to identify goals and make plans for their futures. For out of school youth, particularly those who are not consistently connected to college or work, YJC customizes support by providing training, resources, and information so youth can step into jobs, experience success, and build their futures on the path to economic self-sufficiency. 

We also work closely with employer partners to ensure that we create trainings and coach candidates in ways that help meet employer needs.

That’s why Youth Job Center is so important. We equip young people with the skills and confidence they need to get jobs and pursue careers. 

Together, we are creating a stronger community, one job at a time.