Our youth have a greater chance at success in life if they are engaged and embraced while they are young. Based in Chicago, our Illinois Youth Investment Program provides a comprehensive, wraparound workforce and case management model that introduces employability skill sets, work, and personal ethics to youth participants (ages 18-24) in summer and year-round projects. Our goal is to get our youth work-ready and prepare them for entry-level work experiences, postsecondary opportunities, and long-term employment opportunities. This includes certification programs, apprenticeships, and post-secondary enrollment.
Our workshops are co-facilitated by a clinical therapist who addresses specific areas of trauma and makes a preliminary assessment of individual needs in this area. We utilize a strength-based approach that involves motivational interviewing, active listening, and judgment-free assessments within the interview and intake process. We work with youth to ensure their individual service plans are centered on their personal and professional goals and allow them to make their own choices in services received.
Compassion and confidentiality are at the center of our work. We use research-driven curricula, which include resume building, labor market exploration, how to interview, dress for success, and job-seeking exercises. In addition to providing jobs for teens and young adults, we also help link them to housing resources if needed. Our classroom topics cover personal and work ethic and teamwork, and we also tailor our training for the younger teens in our workshops.
Our focus is geared towards a philosophy of positive thinking, positive attitudes, positive energy, self-awareness, and positive communication. These tools are necessary to secure sustainable employment. We know that our youth are the future, and our program prepares them to be the leaders they were born to be.