For Immediate Release

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership Joins Roadtrip Nation In Virtual Premiere Of Documentary Featuring Career Exploration For Young Adults

Download Media Release Here.

July 14, 2020 (Chicago) – Today The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) joined Roadtrip Nation in a virtual premier on You Tube live debuting a four-part documentary that follows three young adults, including a local program participant, on their quest for self-discovery and career exploration. The Partnership is featured in episode 4 of the film which debuts August 2nd on WTTW Channel 11.

The documentary, titled To Be Determined, is the brainchild of Roadtrip Nation, (and a feature of the Public Broadcasting Service) that empowers young adults to explore who they are and what they want to do with their lives.

The film centers on the trio of 20-somethings, including one from suburban Chicago, who come from underserved communities and who travel the East and Midwest in Roadtrip Nation’s distinctive bright green RV, conducting informational interviews of leaders of workforce/job training programs and professionals with interesting careers.

“This was the trip of a lifetime; a beautiful opportunity to for them to learn more not only about the world, but also about themselves,” said Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of The Partnership. Norington-Reaves appears in the fourth and final documentary segment discussing her own life story and unconventional career path. “I hope they learned that there is no “right” path to realizing your dreams.”

One of the young people featured, Yasmine Tolbert of south suburban Harvey, is an alumna of Phalanx Family Services, a mentoring, workforce training and educational advancement agency supported by The Partnership. Yasmine was accompanied on her travels by Taiheem Wentt and Denise Flores, both New Yorkers.  “What this experience taught me is life is a lesson to be learned not a problem to be solved” said Tolbert. She is eager to “pour into” others what was poured into her.

The trio traveled in the Roadtrip Nation RV to Atlanta, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. Along the way they interviewed the founders of the workforce programs that they completed—Year Up, Per Scolas and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act youth program led locally by The Partnership.  The young adults interviewed leaders dedicated to workforce development, as well as corporate and technology executives, and a political operative.

“During their three weeks together, Yasmine, Taiheem and Denise were able to learn that where you come from does not have to determine where you end up,” said Norington-Reaves. “As I told them, their trip may be over, but their journey isn’t. As my mother used to tell me ‘you can do anything you put your mind to, even eat an elephant as long as you do it one bite at a time.’”

Designed for a variety of audiences including those who run or participate in workforce/job training programs, social service and support agencies, and high school/college/continuing education students, the documentary – four 25-minute segments – is supplemented by an interactive discussion guide and tookit, and a new Chicago-focused young adult workforce development portal, launched jointly with The Partnership, which features conversations with and motivational stories from a variety of successful professionals in this region’s high demand industry sectors. The website also features resources for career exploration, and local programs geared toward youth.

More information about To Be Determined and Roadtrip Nation can be obtained from
Kiera Jones – Program Director