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Youth job session draws big turnout

An hour before the Youth Job Center of Evanston’s Fall Job Fair began last Wednesday, more than 100 job seekers had already lined up inside the Evanston Public Library.

By the end of the day, approximately 400 young people interviewed with employers looking to fill jobs.

While economists predict a jobless recovery for the United States following a crippling recession, the YJC continues to equip youth for employment and pave the way for occupational opportunities.

This year’s fall job fair represented 19 local employers actively looking to hire, such as Aerotek, Sears, Best Buy, Mather Lifeways, Marshalls and more. Two employers also sent additional recruiters from other locations to help. Job seekers were able to submit resumes and speak with recruiters on the spot about potential positions.

“It was exciting to see the number of connections made between employers and job seekers at this job fair,” said YJC Employer Outreach Coordinator Jordan Burghardt. “We are glad to be able to offer an event that benefits the community at no cost to employers or potential job seekers.”

Employers agreed, saying they appreciated the YJC’s services to their companies and to the community. “The YJC is a great partner,” said Carolyn Zak, public information coordinator at Rimland Services. “It’s very understanding of our hiring needs.”

The job fair came at a critical time for local-area job seekers. In August, the national teenage unemployment rate was 25.5 percent, the highest level since the Bureau of Labor Services began tracking such data in 1948.

As of July, overall unemployment in the Chicago Metropolitan Region was 10.7 percent, the second highest unemployment rate for the division since 1983.

“Though the market remains difficult, we are committed to our mission to prepare, motivate and educate young people to gain employment and put their lives on a positive path,” said YJC Executive Director Sacella Smith. “We’re thrilled by the success of this job fair and will continue to work diligently to provide opportunities for our community’s youth.”

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