About 15 persons turned out late Tuesday afternoon at a vacant lot across Church Street from Evanston Township High School to put pressure on officials of Youth & Opportunity United (YOU) to hire local residents when they construct their new headquarters building there.
Spokesperson for the ad hoc group, Belva Hill, said they were there to challenge YOU to “stand behind their mission statement” and ensure that local residents are included in the building’s construction crew.
“We want to make sure they don’t just turn the hiring over to the unions,” said Hill, “because the people that need the jobs are not union members, as they don’t have jobs.”
She added: “We would like to have a seat at the table when they make the hiring decisions.”
When informed of the demonstration, YOU Executive Director Seth Green said the organization has not yet hired anyone for the construction phase of the project, but that YOU has always been fully committed to diversity in hiring.
“When we are ready for construction,” he said, “we plan to give special consideration to local hiring and to the participation of minority and women-owned businesses.”
The two-story, 12,000-square-foot building was made possible by a gift of $1.5 million from Jennifer Pritzker’s Tawani Enterprises and a $1 million gift from the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation.
Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2016.