Mayor Emanuel announces new initiative to build careers for Chicago youth

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (Skills) to launch Beyond the Diploma, a new demand-driven youth employment initiative that will connect unemployed and underemployed youth to jobs with career pathways and educational advancement. 

“Skills for Chicagoland’s Future has already put thousands of our residents to work and Beyond the Diploma represents the next step,” Mayor Emanuel said. “By combining the power of our businesses with the talent and education in our City Colleges, our students have a new avenue for their careers and a new path to success.”

Corporate partners for this program include leading businesses such as Walgreens, CDW, Freedman Seating and Rush University Medical Center. Each business has developed a different program for jobseekers, but each position shares the same goal - to provide education and career advancement opportunities.  

These “earn and learn” opportunities, combined with mentoring and support from The Chicago Urban League, One Million Degrees and Cara will provide youth with the support. Through Beyond the Diploma, Skills aims to place 1,125 high school graduates into jobs.

“We believe in Chicago’s youth and know that many just need a pathway to change the trajectory of their lives. These employers that are first at the table are committed to making a difference and were looking for a conduit like Skills to make it happen,” said Marie Trzupek Lynch, Skills’ president and founding CEO.

The Beyond the Diploma pilot initiative is being funded by a $700,000 grant from the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, a $500,000 grant from The Chicago Community Trust and additional funding from the Aspen Institute, The Osa Foundation, AT&T, the Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation and an anonymous funder.

For more information about the Beyond the Diploma program, click here.