Youth Gain Valuable Work Experience by Participating in Summer Employment Program

view as a webpage

Lake County Workforce Development Banner

August 13, 2018

Youth Gain Valuable Work Experience by
 Participating in Summer Employment Program

The 2018 Lake County Summer Youth Employment Program wrapped up another exciting summer as more than 215 Lake County youth gained meaningful work experience while earning a paycheck. Funded by the Lake County Board, the program matches youth with local worksites that offer a paid, part-time work experience. For most youth participants, this is their first job.  To launch this year's program, youth participants met at the Job Center for a two-hour orientation that included information about program expectations and work ethics.  

Summer Youth Program

Youth worked at 35 sites, including a mix of nonprofit organizations, local municipalities, private and community-based organizations throughout Lake County. Youth were paid $8.25 per hour during the program. Participants worked in a variety of areas including office support, camp counseling programs, and indoor/outdoor maintenance. The four largest employment sites included: the City of Waukegan, Green Farm North Chicago, Waukegan Park District, and Zion Township.  Zion Township hired four mentors to guide and teach their group of 33 youth participants.   The mentors reinforced six values among the students: respect, integrity, responsibility, safety, perseverance, and kindness. 

The City of North Chicago also provided a unique experience for the 18 participating youth this year.  On their first day, participants listened to presentations by managers of multiple departments who described their departments, job functions and how they progressed to their current job. Youth participants were matched with an appropriate department for the summer.  Claudia, who will be a high school sophomore, is interested in business and finance and was placed at the Office of the Comptroller.  She processed water bills and parking tickets, filed paperwork and handled mail.  “I didn’t think that I would have so much responsibility,” she said.  “It’s just like a real job.” 

Youth 23

Youth participants with the City of North Chicago went on a few half-day field trips designed to expose them to a variety of careers.  Youth visited Youthage Culinary in Mundelein where they met Chef Robert Collins and participated in a waffle-making contest.  They also toured Laser Precision in Libertyville and saw a manufacturing company in action. The field trips were funded through the City of North Chicago and other charitable contributions.  

Youth 5

Wilfredo, who will be a high school senior this year, worked at the North Chicago Police Department and reported directly to the Chief of Police. He said that answering telephones at the office helped him to increase his confidence. “At this job, I’m an adult joining the workplace. We’re not treated as students.” He said that the most important lesson that he learned this summer was “to get involved in a career that you love.” 

Lake County Workforce Development will begin accepting applications for next year's Summer Youth Employment Program in March, pending County Board approval. For more information on this program and other workforce development opportunities, please visit the Lake County Job Center website

Collage 9

Jennifer Everett
Lake County Workforce Development
Phone: 847-377-3447