For Immediate Release

Inaugural “Opportunity Summer” Program Provides Paid Internships to Nearly 200 Young Adults in Suburban Cook County

Cook County Funds Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership Program That Connects Young Adults to Sector-Based Career Opportunities 


CHICAGO – Nearly two hundred young adults today completed the first-ever Opportunity Summer paid internship program, funded by Cook County and administered by The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership). Participants earn $15 an hour, working for one of more than 30 employers in high-growth, high-demand sectors in Suburban Cook County.  

Opportunity Summer provides young adults who are not in school and not connected to employment with a 7-week paid internship with employers including Walton Contractors, Catholic Charities, Housing Authority of Cook County, and more, working in a variety of positions ranging from IT Technician to Web Designer and Clerical Assistant. 

Cook County is allocating $15 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to The Partnership to create programs and services to support residents and businesses impacted by COVID-19. Engaging with young adults is a priority for The Partnership. Reaching out to this important population through programs such as Opportunity Summer and Opportunity Works, the year-round intern program funded by Cook County, can lead to the start of a lifelong successful career journey.   

“This year alone, nearly 200 hundred students were able to develop job skills, earn a paycheck and contribute toward the local economy,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Our partners both in the private and non-profit sectors have done an incredible job in providing a space for our underserved youth to impact their communities while earning money. Every opportunity afforded to our youth this summer is a success story, and I look forward to continuing this initiative for years to come.” 

Young people often find themselves either wanting or needing to work, but not knowing where to begin,” said Partnership Interim CEO Patrick Combs, Opportunity Summer can serve as an “on ramp” to a career, connecting interns to local employers in need of talented summer interns who provide paid work experience that can lead to career opportunities in high-demand, high growth industries.”  

Hannah J. worked at Northbrook’s Chamber of Commerce:   

“As someone who is passionate about accessibility for everyone, I enjoyed being able to connect with organizations such as the food bank, the local farmers market, and the Rotary Club, to learn about the often-overlooked ways our community makes resources available to everyone. This paid internship experience was valuable to my goal of working with an organization that works closely with the local government and community,” said Hannah J., Opportunity Summer Intern, Northbrook, IL Chamber of Commerce. 

Samuel T. worked at Morton West High School. 

“This internship opened a door to a new job for me. I’m also grateful for the transportation, which helped me a lot financially,” said Samuel T., Opportunity Summer Intern, Morton West High School in Berwyn, IL. 

Christopher P. worked at MuzicNet School of Music: 

“I was able to showcase my music skills through interning with MuzicNet. I’m looking forward to returning next year,” said Christopher P., Opportunity Summer Intern, MuzicNet School of Music in Park Forest, IL. 

For more information about Opportunity Summer, Opportunity Works and other Partnership youth programs, visit  

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

About Cook County

Cook County is the second-largest county in the United States representing 5.2 million residents in Illinois. The President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Cook County and oversees the Offices Under the President and presides as president of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.