Evanston nonprofit, Walgreens open training center for adults with autism

Ciara McCarthy, Summer Reporter

Evanston-based nonprofit organization Have Dreams and Walgreens opened a new training facility for adults with autism Wednesday on Dempster Street.

Representatives from Have Dreams and Walgreens marked the opening of the center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Have Dreams’ facility in Evanston, 2020 Dempster St. The group, which has locations in Evanston and Park Ridge, Ill., helps train adults and young people with autism for employment and independent living.works to assist adults and young people with autism to train for employment and independent living.

The center will provide job preparation and training opportunities for adults with autism, according to Walgreens. It includes a simulated Walgreens store environment to allow participants to practice retail skills.

“The key is to build a support system and partnerships that will guide each of our participants toward a successful job experience and the skills needed for living independently,” said Kris Johnsen, executive director of Have Dreams, in a news release. “This invaluable collaboration with Walgreens is bringing much-needed employment training for young adults with autism in our community.”

Walgreens operates several facilities throughout Evanston and has picked the city for its first net-zero energy store in the country. The environmentally conscious location is expected to open this fall.

— Ciara McCarthy