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Pritzker Administration Launches Covid-19 Summer Youth Employment Program

IDHS Also Launches Immigrant Family Support Project for those Excluded from Federal COVID-19 Relief

CHICAGO –The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today announced two COVID-19 response programs designed to provide much-needed support to Illinois residents – a summer youth program for more than 2,000 at-risk youth and an Immigrant Family Support Project for more than 3,600 families who have been generally excluded from or ineligible for federal COVID-19 relief and unemployment insurance.

“IDHS exists to assist residents who are in greatest need and who have not had access to resources and opportunities,” said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou. “In response to COVID-19, we have deployed additional resources to protect and support people who are experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, and victims of domestic violence. These two additional projects extend our work to reach marginalized communities and provide some relief during an extremely diffi cult time.”

Summer Youth Employment Project

IDHS, with support from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), is proud to announce a COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment Program (C-SYEP). Many of Illinois’ young people between the ages of 16 and 24 face signifi cant challenges to securing employment this summer. The COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment Program will be implemented and managed by IDHS-funded Youth Services organizations across Illinois.

This group of young people makes up 24% of the overall workforce employed in industries at highest risk of closure due to COVID-19. To address this hardship, the COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment Program seeks to help employ 2,200 low-income, minority and at-risk youth living in high poverty communities and counties hardest hit by the pandemic. The primary objective for youth served in the program will be to develop essential employability skills and to earn entry-level work experience.

Grantees of the program will partner with local employers in need of summer employees. Participating youth will be placed in age-appropriate, ability-appropriate, and experience-appropriate Work- Based Learning Opportunities, Career Development Experience Opportunities, or Pre-Apprenticeship programs.

Eligible youth include those low income and/or at-risk youth ages 16-24 who have Illinois residency and are able to provide an I-9 prior to employment. IDHS anticipates that up to 30 projects will be funded in Champaign; Cook; Lake; Macon; McLean; Peoria; St. Clair; Stephenson; and Winnebago Counties.

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