450 jobs made possible through federal stimulus funding provided to Chicago Department of Family & Support Services.
City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), in partnership with the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS), is providing hundreds of young adults with summer jobs this year. The jobs were made possible thanks to $15 million in federal stimulus funding provided to DFSS, which in turn provided CCC with $945,000 to fund the program.
About 450 people age 19-24 are taking advantage of summer jobs, ranging from positions at Washburne Culinary Institute’s Sikia Restaurant, to administrative positions at the District office and colleges. According to outgoing CCC Chancellor Wayne D. Watson, the program has two main goals: to place young people in areas where they already have an interest or prior experience; and to allow summer workers to explore the career programs available at CCC.
“CCC is offering valuable work experiences for young people to encourage academic advancement while providing a chance to serve the community,” Chancellor Watson said. “This is truly an example of federal stimulus funds at work to improve our community.”
Besides clerical and administrative work, there are opportunities to work on innovative “green” initiatives across the district such as neighborhood recycling programs and community outreach. Other positions include Web Design Intern, Laboratory Assistant, Marketing and Communications Assistant, Customer Service Representative, Community Advocate, Peer tutor, and many more.
“I’ve gotten the chance to do a lot of networking with professional, successful people, and this will help me as I pursue a career in medicine,” said Eric Ruffin, 21, a pre-med student at Chicago State University who is working at the Administrative Services department of CCC.
“We want our students to be a catalyst to educate the community,” said Angela Henderson, Interim Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. “We want to give them positions that tie into their majors as much as possible. The job possibilities are endless.”
According to Jasmin Dover, 21, an accounting student at Southern Illinois University who is taking summer classes at Daley College, the summer jobs program has provided her the opportunity to connect with other professionals and to learn new technology that will help her in her field.
“I am learning a lot of great technical skills,” Dover said. “The office work has been a great experience for me, and I’ve also enjoyed going into the campus neighborhoods to do outreach work.”
To assist students with developing professional skills, summer workers must attend a weekly Career Success Seminar that teaches resume writing, conflict resolution, and job search skills. Summer workers selected as Supervisors are also provided with additional leadership training seminars, hosted at the CCC District office. In addition, summer workers are provided with a uniform and transportation to and from job sites.
This was the first year that DFSS offered summer jobs to young adults up to age 24. Previously, only those age 14 to 21 were eligible. Jobs pay around $9 to $12 an hour. Student workers were chosen based on Chicago residency and family income level.
City Colleges of Chicago Press Office, 312-553-2528