Evanston's Youth Job Center Helps Record Number of Teens Find Summer Jobs

Summer tutor, Mary O’Kane, helps a rising third grader with a math problem.  Mary is one of over 40 summer tutors-teens, paid by the YJC, who work as teacher assistants in District 65’s summer learning program.
Summer tutor, Mary O’Kane, helps a rising third grader with a math problem. Mary is one of over 40 summer tutors-teens, paid by the YJC, who work as teacher assistants in District 65’s summer learning program.
The following is from the Youth Job Center:

The Youth Job Center is providing nearly 65 teens, between the ages of 14 and 16, with summer jobs.  That’s a new YJC record and an important contribution to the community!  A recent New York Times article noted that teen employment has gone steadily down in the past decade with only about 26% of teens in the job market today compared with over 40% in the 1990’s.  Low income and minority teens are even more unlikely to find employment with only 17% of African American male teens currently employed.

“The experience of a summer job goes way beyond simply earning a paycheck,” states director of development and strategic partnerships, Kim Hoopingarner.  “When teens are employed, they learn about the world of work at an early age and also how to successfully navigate the job-search process.” 

This summer, the YJC expanded upon its traditional summer tutors program with District 65 and now has teen employment programs in place with the McGaw YMCA and YOU.  The Evanston Community Foundation-sponsored  “ABC Boosters” program is also up and running for a third summer providing an additional 10 jobs for Evanston teens. 

“Teens have to go through a rigorous application process to earn one of our summer positions,” states Hoopingarner.  “They need to fill out an application, provide a one page essay stating why they want the job, secure three letters of recommendation and participate in two interviews!  The YJC hosts resume and interviewing workshops so that youth can learn the skills necessary to be effective in an interview--skills that will benefit them for years to come”

Teens in each of the programs work with young children often becoming their role models.  Teens in the ABC Boosters program work with a curriculum developed by the Evanston Public Library to assist rising kindergarteners develop their literacy skills. Juliana Rohrlack, Summer School Site Coordinator at Oakton School state,  “Summer tutors work as teacher assistants with rising third grade students-students needing some assistance transitioning from learning how to read to reading to learn.”  Supervising teacher, Amy Sullivan, loves having the assistance of a summer tutor in her classroom stating,” My tutor, Mary, has been really helpful.  I can be working with half the students on math and Mary can work with the other half on reading.  It’s wonderful for the children to have that extra attention.”  

The YJC hired teens proficient in Spanish to work in the bilingual classrooms and also has teens working with the “Newcomers” program which is for children and their families who are new to the US and where English is their second language.  The youth working with the McGaw YMCA and YOU function in a junior counselor capacity-assisting with the elementary-aged youth in their programs through a variety of tasks. 

Thanks to the ongoing partnership with District 65 and the ECF sponsored Boosters program, along with the new initiatives with the McGaw YMCA and YOU, nearly 65 Evanston teens have summer jobs.  The YJC pays the teens’ stipends and provides ongoing employment support.    Cody New, site supervisor over the YMCA program hosted at Oakton Elementary School, states, “I am currently working with two YJC teen-helpers and I would definitely hire them again next summer.  They are both a big help and it’s been great to see them gain more confidence in their roles each day.” 

The Youth Job Center of Evanston prepares youth ages 14-25 for success in the workplace through job-readiness, placement and employment support in partnership with employers.

For more information, contact Kim Hoopingarner, YJC development director, at847-864-5627 or khoopingarner@youthjobcenter.org.


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