CNE partners with National Able Network to offer employment workshops to local families
Through a partnership with National Able Network and the Skokie Community Foundation, CNE offered a series of employment workshops at no cost to families in the Northern Suburbs from January to April 2015. The final workshop in the series, held Tuesday, April 21, delved into what attendees’ next career steps could be and how to get there.
Leading the workshop was Andi Drileck of National Able Network, who confirmed to attendees that “the job-search game has changed.”
“We work with people with no GED and people with Ph.Ds — minimum wage to six figures,” Andi said.
Attendees’ employment backgrounds that night varied from a former college professor to a mechanic.
“I feel like there’s been 20 years between the last time I applied for a job and now,” Rebekah* said. “So I don’t know the language and I’m not comfortable with the programs.”
Some attendees had never gone through a formal interview process or created a resume.
“I’ve been unemployed most of my life,” said Cheron, a mother of three. “I only get jobs that I get because of my family. I know I’m very fast and hard-working, but other than that I fail on resumes and interviews.”
Marc, a father of 3, was interested in learning how to best continue his education as a working dad.
“I’ve done a lot of car work and I need to continue my education,” he said. “I want to be certain in my career – not just get a job.”
Christine, who said she has never really worked before, is in the process of getting her GED and is also pregnant with her third child.
“I’m wondering what jobs I could do that would be best for me right now,” she said, adding that she’s interested in nursing and cosmetology.
One of the attendees brought her 13-year-old daughter with her, Sonia. Sonia participated with her mom, and shared that she’d like to use her interest in language arts or music for her future career.
Kara, a lifelong Evanston resident, recently went on maternity leave and was forced to quit her job due to an injury.
“I’ve done a little bit of everything but I don’t have a degree in anything,” Kara said. “I just get jobs and work as hard as I can.”
A couple of the attendees expressed that they struggle with poor test-taking skills and anxiety when applying for jobs.
“I can do anything once I put my mind to it, it’s just a matter of getting to it,” Kara said.
Andi encouraged attendees to join support groups to hold each other accountable.
“It gets depressing searching for a job alone,” she said. “You should be growing your network and resourcing people. They don’t have to be your best friend. People like to help other people and they’ll start thinking about what they know when you ask them for help.”
CNE’s growth and partnership with National Able Network is just one of the steps CNE is taking to propel a 2015 strategic, visionary plan to not only offer services to children but support parents and siblings of North Suburban families in need of a hand-up.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with National Able Network to help our clients achieve a more stable future for themselves and their families,” said Andrea Densham, CNE’s executive director.
The partnership was made possible thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Skokie Community Fund.
“We are honored to be among the first recipients of this award from the Skokie Community Fund,” said Grace Powers, National Able Network president and CEO. “With this grant and with the help of Childcare Network of Evanston, National Able Network will be better able to serve most-in-need families of Skokie.”
*All names have been changed to protect the privacy of our families.
Story by Jamie Lynn Ferguson, Director of Marketing and Communications