Quick and Easy: The Art of Work Gala

MAD-youth-job-center-evanston-jewelCelebrate Youth Job Center’s 30th anniversary and support underprivileged youth with job-readiness and placement programs.

The Youth Job Center (YJC) has been a leading provider of employment-related services for disadvantaged and at-risk youth in Evanston and Chicago, and they’ve served more than 20,000 young people during their 30-year history. YJC was founded on the belief that this at-risk portion of the population is an undeveloped community asset—a valuable, untapped source of energy, talent and productivity.

What: Attend the Youth Job Center’s The Art of Work Gala. Purchase tickets to the gala or make a donation to the organization through their website.

When: Saturday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Modern Wing of The Art Institute, 159 East Monroe St., Chicago

The Mission: Since 1983, the Youth Job Center has assisted young job seekers ages 14-25 with job placement, employment counselling and on-going support. They currently provide job training and placement for 1,400 youth annually, and offer 45 percent job placement, well above the national average for youth employment.

Every dollar given in support of the gala will go directly to help a young person on their path to career and life success. YJC believes that an investment in young lives helps to break the cycle of poverty and benefits everyone in the community.

This is proven every day in the work they do with individuals such as Antonio, a young man who came to the Youth Job Center a year ago, after being referred from his caseworker at the Dept. of Children and Family Services (DCFS). At age 22, Antonio had “aged out” of the foster care system. He was visibly discouraged and withdrawn when he arrived at the YJC for his first day of job-readiness training. His YJC career advisor assured him that if he worked hard and gave 100 percent every day, she would connect him with a life changing opportunity.

Antonio arrived early to every class and never missed a single assignment during the three-week session. The last week of class, Antonio’s YJC advisor landed him an interview with Amtrak and provided him with interview clothes. Antonio says he never felt more supported, encouraged or prepared. He said with a smile, “The YJC treated me with dignity and respect, not like someone who had nothing to offer just because I was a ward of the state.”

Antonio landed the job, and has been employed for the past 11 months in passenger services. He’s earning a wage of $18 an hour with full benefits, and is now able to maintain his own apartment!


Photo: Three YJC teens enter the “world of work” at Jewel Foods in Evanston.