New career prep program launched


Hecky Powell and The Forrest E. Powell Foundation have announced the launch of a new non-profit organization, the Evanston WE Program, to help career and technically-minded Evanston Township High School students with career preparation, certification and placement.

The WE — for work ethic — program will provide one-on-one mentoring, career-readiness workshops and financial aid access.

“Plenty of programs exist to help college-bound students, and we think that is wonderful,” says Nancy Baker, executive director of the WE Program. "But what happens to the significant percentage of ambitious, low-income students who pursue certification and careers that don’t require a 4-year degree? We believe that all ETHS students deserve support and mentoring to reach their full potential. And if we can keep their talent right here in Evanston, that’s even better news for everyone.”

Evanston WE will collaborate with community partners including ETHS, Oakton Community College, Y.O.U. and the Youth Job Center to identify students and deliver programs.

Students are inducted their junior year of high school and matched with a career related mentor. They will participate in a supportive and sequential curriculum of career readiness seminars and apprenticeships. Candidates may attend community college, vocational school, trade school, apprenticeship or short-term training programs such as automotive technology, cosmetology, culinary, healthcare or manufacturing.

Hecky Powell, founder of the WE program says, “For years, The Forrest E. Powell Foundation has been honoring Evanston community leaders annually with The Work Ethic Award and providing scholarships to youth pursuing training for the career and technical fields.  This program takes our mission one step further with an inclusive, curriculum and mentorship that really gives students the support they deserve from high school to training to career placement. Engage. Educate. Employ. That’s what The Evanston WE Program is all about.”

Applications are available at several community locations and other community organizations and churches including the YMCA, YWCA and the Youth Job Center. They're also available online and at Hecky’s Barbecue, 1902 Green Bay Road.

Applications with all completed materials are due Friday, Oct. 14.

As an extra incentive for the community to get behind this exciting new program, organizations are invited to participate by encouraging viable candidates to apply. The organization with the highest number of applicant referrals will be awarded a free Hecky’s barbecue lunch for up to 20 persons for its staff or membership.

For questions or additional details, contact Nancy Baker at 847-477-0025.

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