Over 60 members of the community came together to celebrate Youth Job Center’s 35th Anniversary at a backyard BBQ Thursday at YJC’s headquarters in Evanston. Guests included current and former board members, employees, clients, and supporters.

YJC was founded in 1983 by Ann Jennett to help low-income youth in Evanston find work, primarily short term or seasonal. Over the years, the agency has expanded significantly, both programmatically and geographically, to meet the needs of youth and young adults throughout Chicagoland.

Today, YJC prepares youth ages 14-25 for success in the workplace by providing one-on-one career advising, work-readiness training, job-placement, and employment support in partnership with employers and fellow youth serving agencies, helping clients step onto the path to a lifelong career.

Executive Director Karen Tollenaar Demorest said, “We’re here to celebrate the successes of the young people who have come through our doors in the past 35 years.  Since Ann Jennett founded this agency in 1983, YJC staff have helped young people recognize their strengths and build upon the incredible potential that already existed within each and every one of them.”

As a part of the celebration, YJC announced a partnership with the Evanston Community Foundation’s Partners for the Future fund. This partnership will allow YJC to create a major giving campaign called “Visionary Circle”. Karen Demorest said that funds from this new campaign will “position YJC to effectively achieve the four goals outlined in our strategic plan: provide career options early; deliver highly-effective, customized training; strengthen employer relations and influence the future of work-readiness training for youth.”

YJC serves both In-school youth and out-of-school youth through its programming.

In-school programs serve youth ages 14-18 and aim to provide effective postsecondary planning to ensure a successful transition at graduation and successfully connect youth to employment and career opportunities.

Out-of-school programs work to achieve lasting and successful placements in jobs for youth served, with opportunities for advancement.

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