Updated: Evanston secures grant to fund summer youth employment program

Bailey Williams, Assistant Summer Editor

Cook County awarded Evanston a grant earlier this month for more than $100,000 to fund the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

The city applied to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which is also referred to as the JAG program. The program, which is administered by the county’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, seeks to fund initiatives in areas such as education and law enforcement.

Although DHSEM had just over $1.5 million dollars to award, the department received more than 60 applications, totaling more than $6 million. Evanston was awarded $107,639.23 to fund the youth employment program, city officials learned earlier this month.

This year, the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program is seeking to help 500 local students find summer jobs, which would be an increase from the 260 students the program assisted last year.

On April 19, the city’s program organizers held their annual job fair at Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave., in accordance with this goal.

(Youth job fair to be biggest ever)

The funds awarded from the JAG program will be used to fund 52 part-time and 31 full-time summer jobs for “at-risk Evanston youth,” Kevin Brown, who works with Evanston’s Youth and Young Adult Program, said in an email.

“These are exciting times for the Evanston Youth and Young Adult Division,” Brown wrote. “The additional 83 positions will bring our total Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program to 448 positions – so far the most we have ever had in the program’s history dating back to 1992. With the addition of the 83 positions we are on target to meet our program goal of 500 positions.”

Brown confirmed the increase in positions filled from last year, saying 365 young people who participated in the fair are currently employed with the city or private employers. Northwestern, Evanston Township High School, Cinemark and Buffalo Wild Wings are among the 17 private employers participating in the program, Brown said.

According to another email obtained by The Daily, the city must inform DHSEM of a final budget for the summer youth employment program. After the budget is reviewed, the city will receive a “sub-recipient grant agreement for review and signature.” A mandatory workshop will be held on June 26 for sub-recipients to review the grant requirements. 

This story has been updated to include information about the number of positions the JAG program will fund and the increase in positions filled from last year. 

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