A young girl learning how to lay a brick.

Young people often find themselves either wanting or needing to work, but don’t know where to begin. Reaching out to them using tools they are familiar with can increase the likelihood of making a true connection that can lead to the start of a lifelong successful career journey. All of us, at one time or another, need to “see what we can be.”

The Partnership collaborates with Chicagoland area businesses and organizations to provide work readiness training to eligible out-of-school youth, ages 16-24 and in-school youth, ages 16-21. There are a wide variety of programs designed to prepare youth to be productive in the workforce. The programs range from summer internships to year-round support for youth.

Engaging young adults is a priority for The Partnership.

The Partnership will invest more than $16.5 million in federal WIOA funding in Program Year 2023 to serve youth ages 16-24 in Chicago and suburban Cook County. Forty-two community-based organizations in our network will offer young adults experiences and skills to connect them with fulfilling career opportunities with family-sustaining wages.

  • $2 million to serve youth in school
  • $11.7 million to serve youth out-of-school
  • $2.8 million in Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) to give youth access to training in high-demand, high-growth industries
Two young women working in a steel fctory

OpportunityWorks and OpportunitySummer

Working with the Office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and private funders, The Partnership created Opportunity Works. Designed as a training program for opportunity youth (young adults who are not in school and not connected to employment) in suburban Cook County that connects them with businesses in high-growth sectors, Opportunity Works offers participants paid internships exposing them to careers they may not have considered in Manufacturing, Information Technology, Healthcare, and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics.

Apply online now: Opportunity Works Youth Application

Chicago & Cook County Young Adult Workforce Development Portal

The Partnership collaborated with Roadtrip Nation, to launch the Chicago & Cook County Young Adult Workforce Development Portal, an online career exploration resource. As part of the collaboration, Roadtrip Nation developed a customized work-based learning digital program that leverages content from interviews with Chicago leaders to help young adults explore the opportunities right in their own communities. This resource, the Roadtrip Nation Experience, walks participants through online lessons that guide a career exploration experience by identifying career interests, researching opportunities, and conducting an informational interview with a leader in the chosen field, all with self-reflection, and assessment activities.

Roadtrip Nation is a nonprofit organization that tells real career stories and empowers people to connect their interests to fulfilling lives and careers.