Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership to Host Opportunity Works Graduation on October 11 at Prairie State College
Cook County Funds Paid Internship Program That Connects Suburban Cook County Out of Work or School Young Adults with Career Pathway Internships in High-Demand, High-Growth Sectors
(CHICAGO)— The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) and Cook County will host a graduation on Wednesday, October 11, at 11 am at Prairie State College for young adults who have completed an Opportunity Works internship over the past year. The 8-week paid internship program runs year-round, with interns earning $15 an hour and working 30 hours a week. Throughout the summer months, the program is called Opportunity Summer. The Partnership collaborates with suburban Cook County and Chicago-area businesses and organizations to provide support for interns interested in building careers in high-demand, high-growth industries, including Manufacturing, Construction, Information Technology, Healthcare, and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics and other professional sectors.
“I’m proud to see the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership’s Opportunity Works program making such a positive impact on the lives of our young adults in suburban Cook County,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “This initiative not only provides valuable career pathways but also serves as a testament to the power of collaboration between government, private funders, and local organizations. Together, we are shaping a brighter future for our Cook County communities.”
As of June, 2023, the program has served more than 1,600 young adults. Nearly 86% of the participants completed an internship and successfully moved on to school or work within six months of enrolling in the program. Additionally, 241 employers have participated the program.
“Our work with President Preckwinkle and suburban Cook County employers to match interns with work that aligns with their needs and interests follows The Partnership’s north star,” said The Partnership CEO George Wright. “As we all do, young people need to find an on-ramp to a successful career and facilitating public-private partnerships to provide these opportunities benefits participants and employers, who gain motivated, career-focused interns.”
Working with the Office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and private funders, The Partnership created Opportunity Works in 2017. Cook County has allocated $15 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to The Partnership to create programs and services to support residents and businesses impacted by COVID-19, which allowed for the expansion of the Opportunity Works program. Last year, The Partnership expanded the program to include Opportunity Summer, which serves more than 200 interns in 7-week paid internships from June to August, working 25 hours a week.
The agencies who support the program in The Partnership’s network include Business and Career Service (BCS), OAI, Prairie State College, SGA Family Services, Bethel, and SERCO.
For more information about Opportunity Summer, Opportunity Works and other Partnership youth programs, visit https://chicookworks.org/services/youth-programs/
About The Partnership
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) is a non-profit umbrella organization operating the public workforce system for the City of Chicago and Cook County.
The Partnership combines federal and philanthropic resources to provide comprehensive workforce development services to employers and job seekers. As the largest public workforce development system in the nation, The Partnership has helped place more than 70,000 individuals in employment; collaborated with more than 2,000 employers; and administered more than $400 million in federal and philanthropic funds. The Partnership’s network consists of 90+ community-based organizations, American Job Centers, satellite sites and sector-driven centers, serving more than 140,000 people annually. Learn more at www.chicookworks.org.