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On Jan. 22, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and the City of Evanston received first place for small cities in the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) second annual National Summer Youth Jobs Challenge. The award honors outstanding achievement in innovative partnerships between a city and its local business and non-profit community to help provide youth with meaningful summer job experiences.

The 2014 Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP) reached its highest job fair attendance to date with 610 participants and was able to provide 500 jobs for local youth with help from the following funding sources: The City of Evanston Community Development Block Grant Committee; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Homeless and Runaway Youth Grant; Illinois Department of Natural Resources –Youth Recreation Corps Grant; and Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Since growing MSYEP through partnerships with the Evanston Youth Job Center and Evanston Township High School, Mayor Tisdahl stated, “[the] program enables young people to gain valuable skills, training and workplace values that lead them towards career pathways that benefit Evanston. I am very grateful for local businesses and nonprofits who have participated in this program, showing their commitment as community leaders.”

The assortment of summer work experiences aims to cultivate and stimulate professional and personal career aspirations for Evanston youth. Jobs ranged from administrative personnel child care assistants, camp counselors, park aids, library assistants, data entry clerks and legislative interns.

At the beginning of the Jan. 26 City Council meeting, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl thanked the “incredible staff” whose efforts helped Evanston win the award. “We had 160 jobs in 2012 and 500 kids applied. We had 500 jobs in 2014 and 600 kids applied. We improved incredibly. I was incredibly proud and in awe of what our staff did. I would also like to thank the businesses that hired our youth, as well as all the City departments that did.”

Mayor Tishdahl also said that for the upcoming summer youth job program, “the staff now wants to set the target at 1,000 jobs.”

Deputy City Manager Joe McRae said the summer youth job fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 28 at Evanston Township High School, and that job applications will be on the City’s website, cityofevanston.org next month. “We hope we will meet or exceed our expectations but [even if not] we will have lofty goals.”