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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Youth Job Fair creates short-term employment for students with long-term benefits

Shreya Srinivasan/The Daily Northwestern
More than 900 students attended this year’s job fair for Evanston youth on Saturday at Robert Crown Community Center.

Four years ago, Stacey Moragne Sr., an outreach worker for the Evanston Youth and Young Adult Division, helped Evanston Township High School senior Damarion Timberlake join the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

The MSYEP is a nine-week entry-level job program that connects companies in Evanston and surrounding communities to the city’s youth. Moragne Sr. said he has been helping recruit students for the annual job fair for 12 years, specializing in at-risk youth.

About 900 students attended this year’s fair on Saturday at Robert Crown Community Center to learn professional skills and interview for job opportunities at more than 60 organizations. 

“I’ve learned that it enables them a different experience for their future lives,” Moragne Sr. said. “It also prepares them for educational, economical, political and social aspects of life. It gives them a sense of responsibility.”  

Timberlake, a varsity football player at ETHS, said he started going to MSYEP when he was 14 years old — the minimum age required for students to participate. 

Last year, he worked for Evanston’s community maintenance team. This year, Timberlake aims to serve as a park attendant, he said.  

Timberlake said he plans to continue playing football after high school while pursuing a degree in communications and public relations — a major in line with the public relations work he did at the city. 

“My favorite part is getting the experience and meeting the people that I’ve met,” Timberlake said. “It’s just a culmination of everybody from all different backgrounds coming to work together, joining on this one project.” 

The program, created in 1992, aims to help students learn about possible career paths and possibly obtain future employment, according to Jermey McCray, the outreach supervisor for Evanston’s Youth and Young Adult Division. 

After registration intake on Saturday, students learned interviewing tips like appropriate eye contact and asking questions. Afterward, they entered a job prep room, previewing the jobs and companies available. Finally, representatives interviewed students for each opportunity, simulating the real-world job search. 

McCray said he especially appreciates the connection and care that the program gives to at-risk youth during the duration of their employment. 

The Youth and Young Adult Division connects with prospective students at gym and lunch periods, as well as before and after school. They also send mass-text messages to students with updates, according to McCray. 

Timberlake currently works for the marketing department of MSYEP. He said he hopes to continue giving students a positive way to use their time. 

“For anybody that’s trying to support it, it’s a great thing to support,” Timberlake said. “This year we got a lot of first-timers, and that’s really, really big. A lot of kids just don’t know what to do in their free time.” 

Moragne Sr. said seeing positive change in underestimated students has been one of the most memorable aspects of the program. 

“Every day I learn something from the kids,” Moragne Sr. said. “Every day I learn who they are, and I also learn who I am. I learn to be humble, I also learn to adapt to different situations.” 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @shreyasrin 

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