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Cook Region scholars win at college - page 4 / 8





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Cook County Advocate • Page 4

Volume 4 • 2003

Three Cook Central Cook Central youth can prepare for work offices remain intact with North Lawndale Employment Network

Director Bryan Samuels decided to scrap previous plans to fold the Cook Central region and negotiated an agreement with the union to maintain staff.

“We need to keep offices open on Chicago’s West Side and in west suburban areas of Cook County, and keep experienced staff working with the families and communities they already know well,” said Samuels.

Shortly after taking the helm last April, Samuels asked union leaders to fast track realignment negotiations, which had already been underway for more than four months. His commitment focused on ensuring that all staff kept their jobs, that staff were housed in the communities they served, that DCFS kept a strong presence in the West Side and west suburban areas of Cook County, and that caseloads remained at or below levels set by legal agreements and national practice standards.

Building Beyond! is an intensive program that prepares young adults to enter the workforce and become successful, self-sufficient, and active citizens of the North Lawndale community. The program serves out-of-school youth between the ages of 17 and 21. Participants must have verbal skills at a minimum 7.0 grade level and math skills at a minimum 7.0 grade level.

The program runs for 12 weeks and is divided between eight weeks of job training and four weeks in a paid internship. During the eight weeks of training students learn important life skills, job readiness skills, and basic computer skills through an introduction to Microsoft Office. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on communications and customer service skills throughout the program.

Upon successful completion of the Building Beyond! program, participants are prepared for the following positions:

  • Customer Service Representative

  • General Office Assistant

  • Data Entry Specialist

  • Telemarketer

  • Bank Teller

  • Sales Associate

After completing the training component, students begin paid internships at companies such as Verizon, Sears, LaSalle Bank, Bank One, Kinkos and Starbucks. The pre-employment training, career education and internships help youth integrate into the workforce and prepare them to start careers of their own.

Building Beyond! also includes mentoring and leadership components, along with career and education trips. Additional supportive services offered include transportation passes to attend the class, a savings plan and referrals for clothing, food, and shelter. Please direct all questions and referrals to the Building Beyond! Program Manager, Alona Lerman, at 773-542-2000 x 3635 or leral@sinai.org.

Cook Central Region’s foster parents take the cake!

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