Feb 092013

CAPSFebruary 2013 Coalition Power Breakfast –  Jack Cutrone, Executive Director – Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority

The focus for this monthly breakfast was framed in this manner:

Please join the COAL membership at our next Coalition Power Breakfast on Saturday, February 2, 2013 from 8:30am – 11:00am. Throughout 2013, we are presenting a series covering areas of critical concern for our community. This Saturday our focus turns to training and employing our youth. We are honored to host Jack Cutrone, Executive Director – Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, who is responsible for leading Governor Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative Youth Employment Program (YEP).

NRI will provide job skills training to 1,800 Chicago-area young people, who will then be available to work part-time at local businesses and organizations in Summer 2013. 

This program provides employers the opportunity not only to gain a valuable employee without cost, but help mold the next generation of community and business leaders.

As COAL continues to focus on illuminating issues and educating our community to foster a more informed discussion, we strive to also bring actionable information to our larger community-of-interest. To that end, we are calling on our membership and others, those that are business and organization leaders and decision makers within your place of employment, to attend this breakfast and to participate in providing the part-time positions required to employ our community’s youth under the Youth Employment Plan.

Mr. Cutrone provided a brief description of his role as Executive Director of the ICJIA and its main areas of responsibility. He then moved on to discuss the NRI Youth Employment Program. Essentially, this program provides funds for businesses and organizations to employ 1800 youth, ages 16 to 24, over the summer. Employers provide the open positions and the program provides the youth and pays their wages – its that straight forward.

Additionally, the Youth Employment Program has contracted with CAPS to perform pre-employment training. CAPS provides this training in work and life skills required to ensure that these temporary workers are productive on Day 1. As another measure to increase the workers’ success, YEP is assigning each worker a mentor to assist them throughout the length of their working engagement, and hopefully beyond.


NRI’s Youth Employment Program connects businesses and organizations with the next generation of talented and diverse young workers. NRI will provide job skills training to 1,800 Chicago-area young people ages 16 to 24. These youth will be available to work part-time at partnering local businesses and organizations for nine weeks in summer 2013.

  • All wages are subsidized by the NRI state grant program without cost to employers.
  • NRI manages all payroll and bookkeeping functions related to youth employment.
  • NRI manages recruitment and screening and provides workforce development training prior to employment to make youth valued employees.

This program provides employers the opportunity not only to gain a valuable employee without cost, but help mold the next generation of community and business leaders. Grow your business while providing a young person with valuable work experience!


Youth will be recruited for employment by NRI agencies in 22 Chicago-area communtiies. Youth participants will receive wages for 40 hours of job readiness training and 160 hours of employment. They will also be paid for 18 hours of community service activities. Throughout the employment period, youth will receive both one-on-one and group mentoring.

National unemployment stands at 7.9%, for blacks the unemployment rate is reported to be around 14% (although we know it is higher) and for black youth in Chicago, the unemployment is as high as 50% – this is unacceptable. Employing our youth and young adults is critical to them receiving the skills required to compete in the global market; just as importantly, employing our youth is one of the ways to combat violence and crime.

COAL plans to work with its member organizations and its larger community-of-interest to identify opportunities for these youth, as well as identifying mentors. If you are a business owner or lead a non-profit organization or lead a public sector agency / department or you are a decision maker in your place of employment, COAL is asking that you identify or create openings for one or more young individuals – keeping in mind that their wages are paid for by this Program.

Click here for a copy of the YEP Flyer.

To learn more or participate in the Youth Employment Program, go to www.ilnri.org.

To locate the NRI Lead Agency in your area, go to: ilnri.org/about.cfm.

If you plan to participate in the NRI Youth Employment Program in any way, please let us know by going here.

A few pictures from the Breakfast:

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