Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Career-building center receives hefty funding

An Evanston outreach group recently got a serious head start on the new year – $50,000 to fund programs for local 14- to 18-year-olds.

The Youth Job Center of Evanston Inc. received the money on Jan. 3 from the Gap Foundation – yes, that Gap, purveyor of ballet flats and button-down sweaters through its Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores.

The Gap Foundation gave millions of dollars to youth-centered organizations in 2006, donating in increments as large as $336,000. The Gap money is mostly earmarked for the programs targeting younger citizens, who are its “target cause” in the developed world.

The company’s philanthropic arm donates money to organizations across the country that help young people learn about career opportunities and develop skills that will help them find jobs in the modern marketplace.

“The Youth Job Center of Evanston is a perfect example of (our goal),” said company spokeswoman Michelle Sibbitt.

The Center is “thrilled” to have the money from the San Francisco-based Gap, said Center Development Director Kim Hoopingarner.

“In a nutshell, we provide kids with job readiness skills so they can have a useful career,” she said.

Hoopingarner said that the $50,000 would go toward funding three of the center’s existing programs, all of which are targeted to high school students. One recipient will be the center’s “outreach office” at Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave., which gauges ETHS students’ job readiness and places them at local businesses so they can gain work experience.

The Learn to Earn club, a center-run eight-week program, has the same goals. The after-school group gives students advice on issues like résumé building, interview skills and developing a healthy work ethic. The program is currently held twice a year, once before the Christmas hiring season and one spring session to anticipate the summer-hiring rush. Hoopingarner said that for the 2007 winter session, every student enrolled in the course had a job by the time the eight-week period was over.

Some of the Gap money will also go toward the center’s Summer Tutors program, which sends ETHS students to area elementary schools to tutor younger children attending summer school. The high school students get a small stipend for their service, and Hoopingarner said that for many, the tutors program provided their first job.

The Youth Jobs Center also has programs to help older residents find employment, concentrating on finding jobs that pay a living wage. It also provides select young people up to $6,000 tuition at Oakton Community College.

“A lot of kids need kind of a helping hand with (this),” Hoopingarner said. “A lot of it’s just a confidence issue. … They realize they can get a job.”

Reach Megan Crepeau at [email protected].

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Career-building center receives hefty funding