The Youth Job Center of Evanston hosted the largest job fair in the organization’s history on March 11. An hour after the fair began, more than 200 enthusiastic job seekers had already lined up inside the Evanston Public Library. By the end of the day, more than 500 job seekers met with 17 currently hiring employers.

With millions of Americans still out of work, the job fair came at a critical time for local-area job seekers. The Illinois unemployment rate in January was up to 11.3 percent – well above the national average. For teenagers, that rate was more than double at 25.8 percent.

“During such a difficult time, it’s exciting to give job seekers the opportunity to make connections with employers who are hiring,” said YJC Employer Outreach Coordinator Jordan Burghardt. “We are glad to benefit our community members, as well as provide employers with job-ready candidates free of charge.”

The YJC continues to equip youth for employment and pave the way for occupational opportunities. This year’s spring job fair represented a variety of local employers, such as Aerotek, Ann Taylor, Comcast, Mather Lifeways, Marshalls, Sodexo and more. Job seekers were able to submit resumes and speak with recruiters about potential positions.

In addition to its annual job fairs, the YJC also offers on-site recruitment events several times each month alongside its comprehensive programming. These events are specifically for clients (youth ages 14 to 25 who have signed up for YJC services). For more information, call the YJC to inquire about becoming a client.

“Though the market remains difficult for youth, we are committed to our mission of ensuring that our YJC job seekers are prepared, trained and ready for successful workplace entry,” said YJC Executive Director Sacella Smith. “We’re thrilled by the success of this job fair and will continue to work diligently to provide opportunities for our community’s youth.”