The Youth Job Center of Evanston has received a $200,000 Illinois grant, which will be used to retrofit the facility and make it more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. In addition to helping the YJC “go green,” the grant will also enable the agency to put more young people to work – the YJC’s core mission.

The announcement about the grant was made by State Assistant Majority Leader Jeff Schoenberg.

The YJC says it expects to see substantial cost savings with the new efficiency measures, including an estimated 40 percent savings in electricity and an overall 60 percent savings in heating and cooling. These savings will be accomplished through a number of structural enhancements, including upgrades to the electrical and lighting systems, new windows and roofing, and improved insulation of the building envelope, as well as other significant improvements.  The YJC is hoping that the new improvements will help qualify the building for eventual LEED certification.

“This important capital investment will create jobs in our community that will pay dividends for dozens of young Evanston residents,” Sen. Schoenberg said. “The Youth Job Center’s job-creation initiative will also ensure that the building renovation will realize significant reductions in energy costs as the result of this comprehensive ‘greening’ process.”

YJC board president Jim Kauffman said, “This funding comes at a time when youth unemployment is at its highest level in more than 60 years and funding for youth-serving organizations is being drastically reduced. This grant not only provides jobs to young people but also enhances the programs and services of the YJC by making the facility more efficient and effective.”

YJC Executive Director Sacella Smith said, “We’re extremely grateful for this state funding. These will be dollars well spent as the funding provides much-needed jobs for our community’s youth.”

“There are a lot of worthy projects that are receiving funding under the capital plan, but this one is extremely important given our current economic climate,” Sen. Schoenberg said.

YJC will hold its fall job fair from 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 7 at the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.