Program Helps Chicago Kids Develop Work Skills, Find Internships

Nancy Harty
July 08, 2018 - 2:25 pm

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A new study finds a program in Chicago and other big cities is helping young people launch better-paying careers.

Year Up is designed to fix what executive director Jack Crowe calls a "mega failure" in our society, which is too many young adults not going to college and stuck in low-paying retail jobs.

The program teaches 18-to-24-year-olds with high school diplomas or GEDs professional skills such as being on time, working in teams, and giving and taking feedback from the boss.

A new study finds nationally, Year Up graduates make 50 percent more than those who don't go through the program.

Crowe says their most recent graduating class in Chicago is making on average $40,000 a year in their new jobs, where they had been earning about five or six thousand dollars a year on average when they entered.

In addition to the professional skills, students take six months of classes at City Colleges and then get six-month internships with companies such as United Airlines, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.

Year Up also helps students with housing, daycare and tutoring, and pays them an education stipend.

Crowe points to a single mother from Austin who was homeless before she joined the program and is now working at major tech company.

Pre-orientation is going on now for the next session that starts in September.