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Governor visits Manual High School to recognize 216 C-SYEP students

216 Peoria youth participated in the COVID Summer Youth Employment Program (C-SYEP) funded by a State of Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) grant. C-SYEP matched young people, primarily PPS students and residents of 61605, 61603 and 61604, with Success Coaches who worked with them to write a resume, practice interview skills and develop employment skills. The participants were then placed in jobs with over 40 business partners, non-profit agencies, government offices and Peoria Public Schools. Grant funds paid their hourly wages while young people built job skills.

This morning, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker visited Manual High School to recognize the students, Success Coaches and Grant Manager, Sarah Chapman for the successful program.

Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat told the audience, “We are excited to see these programs come to fruition here in Peoria. This is bringing a lot of positivity and hope to the youth in Peoria’s hardest hit neighborhoods during COVID-19. Two-hundred-sixteen youth are earning a wage, developing employment skills and also receiving training for resume writing, job interviewing, and other career readiness skills and we are thrilled to partner with DHS on this initiative.”

Welcome Gov Pritzker  Superintendent Kherat

Some participants worked with Garry Moore, director of the Peoria chapter of the Black Business Alliance, in Careers with Conscious, a career exploration project or with the Tri-County Urban League.

Itali Carter, a Peoria High School senior spoke to the crowd of parents, coaches and guests about her C-SYEP experience, “My job counselor's name is Alonzo. He has walked this journey with me since the first day. He would contact me all day just to touch base with me, sending me to different interviews, following up after interviews, making sure I completed my training and had the necessities to start work. I am employed at Central Illinois Awning, where they create and design awnings for businesses. I work under the supervision of Ms Donna. She has taught me to perform administrative duties such as filing, answering phones and data entry.

“With my earnings, I plan to save the money and use it towards college.”

Another participant, Richwoods High School graduate Anthony Weldy said, “This program is very beneficial for the youth in the city. Especially those who grow up in low income neighborhoods like myself. Giving the youth an opportunity to work and learn valuable skills is very important. I am grateful to have a job working with M & O Insulation Company. There are plenty of skills taught and learned from this program, such as proper interview etiquette, money management, on job skills, and proper communication skills. I have also learned plenty of skills that will help me in my future career. Being employed at M&O has taught me great work ethics and effective communication in a professional environment. They have also taught me the importance of teamwork and how to effectively coexist with your coworkers. I would like to thank Governor Pritzker and District 150 for making this opportunity possible for us and making a positive change within the community.”

Statewide C-SYEP spent $9.3 million to provide job training and jobs to 2,400 young people in counties hardest hit by COVID-19. “It’s more important than ever to ensure that the most vulnerable among us don’t fall through the cracks,” said Pritzker.

“I’ve visited these programs in Urbana, Rockford and Waukegan but I wanted to come to Peoria. Peoria holds a special place in my heart because this is where innovation and caring come together to create real opportunity for the future of the economy,” said Pritzker.