It’s Friday!  How about some good news?

Get IN Chicago is a private organization that provides counsel to funder and community-based organizations working to reduce youth violence and address the underlying, systemic issues that lead to it. We pool resources, research, and on-the-ground expertise to disrupt the cycle of violence and create new possibilities for youth and communities. Here is an update from staff at one of our partner programs:

Westside Health Authority
Grant Recipient – Special Funding (Workforce)

Jonathan* joined our first cohort through referral after trying unsuccessfully to find employment on his own. A high school senior, he had a strong need to work in order to provide assistance to his family.  He was frustrated after numerous rejections.

get in chicago westside health authority google

Project AVERT participants attended a training at Google as part of the program earlier this year.

While working with a case manager on an employment plan, we learned that Jonathan had a history of failed drug tests. So instead of focusing directly on job readiness, the case manager started working on drug education and harm reduction techniques with him in addition to the Project A.V.E.R.T. curriculum.

Jonathan completed both his high school graduation and the A.V.E.R.T. program successfully in June.  Moreover, he was hired at a local Jamaican jerk chicken restaurant.  He recently returned as a speaker for our current cohort of youth in Project A.V.E.R.T.  In his presentation, he stressed how the program helped him understand what employers expect and how to present himself professionally. In particular, he credited the case management sessions with helping him gain employment and plan for his future.

This fall, Jonathan is registered to start at Truman College and will take on a second job second job in the food industry to further develop his passion for cooking.

*name changed

get in chicago westside health authority gravitytank

Staff from gravitytank met with youth, including Get IN Chicago Youth Advisory Board member and Teen Team leader LaFrance

Westside Health Authority’s workforce development program, Project AVERT, is providing employment readiness and training for Austin’s most violent-prone population: youth with gang affiliations, justice system involvement, or unenrolled statuses.  In addition to soft skills trainings, the program supports intensive mentoring, case management, and employment guidance.  This year, Project AVERT has helped youth find employment at companies such as Cook Brothers, Five Guys Restaurant, McDonald’s, Mariano’s, and New Vision Marketing.

Check back on upcoming Fridays for feel-good tidbits and stories!