This is an old story for me, but I just thought it may be helpful for others feeling challenged during these times of isolation and uncertainty.

For most of my adult life cancer has been my stalking-horse. My brother was 16 when he succumbed to Ewings Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer that mostly afflicts young people. He was sick for about 18 months and his death devastated our family for years to come. 

It felt like I wouldn’t live very long so I tried to live large, before the big C takes me out. Sure enough, my time came at 39, when a doctor called me at the end of a long week in February to say I had joined the ranks of millions of women who had breast cancer.

My absolute worst nightmare just happened, so what’s next? I was going to die — now sooner than later. Uncertainty about my future was growing, about my health, my wellbeing, my company.

At the same time, while my company was successful, I was not all that happy at that point in my life. Frequently working 18-hour days and over the weekend — my life lacked balance. I felt truly alone.

So, I took this fear-ridden moment to self-evaluate and examine who I was, and if this was going to be it, what I really wanted out of life. I thought, if I’m going to lose everything, what is important to me?

I went into serious self-exploration. I tried to be brutally honest with myself about the good, the bad and the ugly. I changed my life on multiple levels as a result. I transformed my company. And, over several years, I made more changes.

Seven years later I had a reoccurrence and survived that as well. Cancer has found its way to me twice, and both times, I pivoted. I leveraged the cancer to change my life. I took the worst experience of my life and used it to become a better person, to enrich my life and to find true meaning in living. That is not to say that it was easy, or simple, or just one moment of revelation. No, it has been many years, with lots of ups and downs and everything in between. But, what I learned is that when the worst thing happens, the thing that you spent your whole life being afraid of, whether it be death or bankruptcy or just feeling alone and unloved, you have the opportunity to begin to find yourself.

All of us are feeling challenged today on so many levels, and each of us questioning who we are, what we do, what we need. It seems to me, the key is to consider how we can live in this new reality if we address our fears. When the worst things happen, a terrible sickness, the loss of financial stability, our home, our family, our friends, perhaps that opens a new way to live and we can find inside of ourselves a new beginning, a new moment for hope and a new reality. It will not be the same.

We will be changed by this pandemic. But, that change, if we allow it to, can become the fertilizer catalyst for our own personal growth. Since that first late February Friday afternoon call, my life has never been the same. And, I am glad.

I learned that I could live through the worst of my fears and come out on the other side feeling better, stronger and more open to what life had to offer. I found inspiration in letting go of all the expectations I had created for myself and my life and learning to accept that this might be it. That was a gift. And, it keeps on giving — 20 years later.

What a better world this would be if restorative justice replaced retributive justice.

Check out what I mean at 2:02:39 of this clip from “The Ben Joravsky Show” with my friend Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks.

“It’s a very dangerous time. If our democracy is going to survive, we have to say the rule of law means something.” Hear why I said that on today’s edition of “The Ben Joravsky Show” during a great discussion of national politics with my friend Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks.


I enjoyed my appearance on the French TV show “Femme & Pouvoir” (“Women & Power”).

I shared my thoughts on how taking leadership of one’s life and career opens so many doors personally and professionally.

I also talked about the joy of sharing a moment of empowerment with a group of people who are special to me.

Watch the video:

The Chicago TV program “ChangeMakers Voice” provided a wonderful opportunity for me to explore the topic of female empowerment with people who called in to the show.

I think leaders are made, not necessarily born, so each of us has the power to lead just as long as we are willing to learn from then let go of our mistakes.

Watch the video:

This article appeared on the Crain’s Chicago Business website on November 1, 2016


I am the new uninsured.

I am a 58-year-old entrepreneur who, over the past 20 years, had two bouts of breast cancer. Thankfully, I’m now cancer-free. But I’m always wary. Thanks to Obamacare, no insurance company is turning me away because of my pre-existing condition. But I have another problem: If, as reported, my knight in shining armor, Harken Health, pulls out of the Illinois marketplace, I will be, as they say in the parlance, screwed.

Let me be clear. I am proud that President Obama created health care access for 20 million Americans and am hopeful that it has put us on the road to the real solution: single payer. But I am not so hot about becoming collateral damage in the battle to get us there.

Here’s how I got to this unenviable place. My firm, Thinkinc., is a creative Chicago-based public affairs and political consulting firm that delivers strategic planning and positioning, messaging, branding, issue framing, leadership development and educational campaigns, principally to nonprofit organizations. For many years we had a group health insurance plan with Blue Cross & Blue Shield for myself and my employees.

But the marketplace has changed, and my business model changed with it, evolving into a virtual office with a team of consultants who no longer needed a group plan. So I went on the Obamacare exchange and found an individual plan with BCBS. It was not quite comparable, but it was manageable.

Imagine my shock when, after less than a year, I received a letter saying that BCBS was pulling my PPO off the Illinois exchange. IN SIX WEEKS. There were very few options left, but Harken had a quality plan. It didn’t offer dental coverage, and the deductibles were higher. But I learned to live with my new coverage.

In the past few weeks I’ve read that Harken, too, is pulling out of the exchange in Illinois. To date, I have received nothing official regarding any upcoming change in my coverage, which ends Dec. 31.

Now I am really scared. Scared that whichever company is left to cover my health care won’t. I fear that the plans that are left won’t include the major hospital systems in Chicago, and I fear that all of my doctors who have cared for me over the years will not be in the plan. God knows how far I will have to travel and who I will have to see.

Are there solutions? Yes! Recently, in a campaign event in Stone Ridge, Va., Hillary Clinton suggested that we let 55-year-olds, or even 50-year-olds, buy into Medicare. Maybe the insurance industry and/or AARP with the insurance companies could form groups from the ranks of entrepreneurs. Maybe BCBS and all the health insurers that invest in corporate social responsibility in order to demonstrate their “good corporate citizenship” could reinvest that money into providing health care for those of us who have been jilted by them. Instead of talking about being good, they should just do good.

But I’m not the expert. What I do know is that there will be no solutions as long as the Republicans continue to use health care as a political football.

I had the same insurance for 23 years. In the last two years, I’ve had two different plans. I don’t want to fix this by taking health care away from the 20 million people who never had it before and have it now. Let’s start with this. Health care is a human right. Let’s deliver on that promise.

Laurie R. Glenn is president and CEO of Thinkinc.

New Report Details a Crisis of Disconnected Youth in Chicago

CHICAGO — A new report, Abandoned in their Neighborhoods: Youth Joblessness Amidst the Flight of Industry and Opportunity, commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network (ASN) and developed by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute (GCI) found strong evidence that teens and young adults are suffering from “a downward and long-term trend of economic abandonment in many of Chicago’s neighborhoods, leaving behind chronic and concentrated conditions of joblessness.”

The report was released at a youth hearing, More Jobs, Less Violence – Connecting Youth to a Brighter Future. During the hearing, U.S. Sen. Richard “Dick” Durbin, Minority Whip, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-9, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Chicago Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp led a spirited discussion with young people who live in Chicago’s racially concentrated areas of poverty and leaders from the sponsoring agencies on how to tackle the problem of bringing more jobs to hard-hit areas and preparing young people to fill those jobs.

“The best anti-poverty, anti-crime program is a job,” Durbin said. “That’s why I’m committed to making vital federal investments in job training and economic development for youth in Chicago and across the country. If we can start providing these young people with more employment opportunities, we could see a dramatic reduction in the violence in our city. I applaud the Alternative Schools Network and the Chicago Urban League for their important work on this issue, and I look forward to working with them to create more opportunities for young people to succeed and climb the economic ladder.”

The connection between the concentrated joblessness and the city’s spate of violence becomes obvious when considering the results of another recent study, this one from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, which shows that despite having only 9 percent of Chicago’s population, five neighborhoods – Austin, Englewood, New City, West Englewood and Greater Grand Crossing – accounted for 32 percent of homicides in 2016. The GCI report found that in those neighborhoods jobless rates for teens (16-19), based on 2011-2015 ACS Data, stood at Austin 91 percent, Englewood 89 percent, New City 79 percent, West Englewood 88 percent, and Greater Grand Crossing 91.8 percent. For young adults (20-24) joblessness was at Austin 59 percent, Englewood 67 percent, New City 49 percent, West Englewood 70 percent and Greater Grand Crossing 66 percent.

“This hearing opens a discussion on a commonly over-looked prescription for Chicago’s gun violence epidemic: youth employment,” Schakowsky said. “Our youth are willing and ready to work, but the opportunities are not here. If we want to end the gun violence epidemic, we must address youth unemployment, especially among minorities. Helping the young people in our communities to gain access to meaningful employment is one of the best tools Chicago has to end the bloodshed. If our President is truly interested in helping to stop the violence in Chicago, he should start by providing young people, especially those in low income communities, with good paying jobs.”

The new GCI report shows that the employment crisis, especially for Black and Latino youths, is “tied to long range trends in the overall loss of manufacturing jobs; and most notably, that joblessness among young people is tied to the emptying out of jobs from neighborhoods, which is in contrast to jobs that are being centralized in Chicago’s downtown areas where whites are employed in professional and related services.”

“Throughout my life — as a mother, teacher and public official — I have always understood the importance of jobs for young people,” Preckwinkle said. “The correlation between productive activity and personal growth and development is undeniable. At work, a young person may find the mentor who imparts life-changing lessons, and when a circle of friends includes young people with jobs, they share hope and rising expectations. We must work together and muster all available resources to connect our young people to opportunity.”

The GCI report found that despite a national economic recovery, Chicago remains one of the nation’s leaders in youth joblessness, especially for Black and Latino young men. Some 89 percent of Chicago’s Black male teens (16-19) and 82 percent of Latinos were out of work in 2015, compared to all teens that age at 71 percent both in Illinois and nationwide. For 20-24 year-olds, 43 percent of Black men, 18 percent of Latino and 9 percent of white young men were jobless and out of school in Chicago. This is compared to 37 percent for Black men and 14 percent for Latino men in that age group in Illinois and 29 percent for Black men and 16 percent for Latino men nationwide.

The crisis was compounded by the hard-hit Chicago young people took from the steady outflow of the relatively higherpaying manufacturing jobs from 1960 to 2015. In 1960, 45 percent Latino and 22 percent of Black teens (16-19) in Chicago who had jobs worked in manufacturing. By 2015, that number was 6 percent for Latinos and 0.4 percent for Blacks. For young adults (20-24), 58 percent of Latinos and 30 percent of Blacks who had jobs were working in manufacturing in 1960 compared to 10 percent for Latinos and 3 percent of Blacks in 2015.

“This is a monumental policy failure,” said Jack Wuest, Alternative Schools Network executive director. “The best jobs are moving North and East, while Black and Latino youths are locked into the South, Southwest, Northwest and West sides. It’s little wonder that so many of our youth succumb to the gangs when the programs to give them an alternative are being squeezed out or shut down. The young people are telling us they want jobs. But there are no jobs they can get to. This is a litany I will keep repeating: Investments in creating meaningful work for these youth will pay dividends immediately and for years to come. A failure to do so has had and will continue to have dire consequences for our city and our state.”



For Chicago’s Black and Latino youth, if jobs are coming back at all after the Great Recession, they are doing so more slowly than in other places. In 2015, employment conditions in Chicago were worse than in Illinois and the U.S. for 16 to 19 and 20 to 24 year olds.

• While employment has improved marginally for Chicago’s Black teens (16-19) with 15 percent working in 2015 from 9.6 percent in 2010, the rate for Latino teens continues to drop, with only 18.5 percent working in 2015, down from nearly 23 percent in 2010.

• Black young adults (20-24) in Chicago continue to struggle with 39 percent out of school and out of work in 2015, compared to 33 percent in Illinois and 25 percent nationwide. For Latino young adults, 21 percent were out of school and jobless in Chicago, compared to 16.5 percent in Illinois and 19 percent nationwide.


GCI researchers dug into data that shows a connection between the joblessness of young people in Chicago’s majority Black and Latino neighborhoods and the emptying out of jobs from those neighborhoods. In contrast jobs have moved to Chicago’s downtown areas where mostly whites are employed in professional and related services.

• In 1970 most retail jobs were in zip codes on the West Side, South Side, the Loop and north of the Loop. The four zip codes with the most retail jobs in Chicago in 2015 were all located north of the Loop, though retail clusters existed on the North, Northwest, and Southwest Sides of the City.

• In 1970, Zip codes making up the center portion of Chicago had a cluster of manufacturing jobs.Those with the highest number of manufacturing jobs included 60639 (33,000) and 60607 (20,896) on the West Side of Chicago, 60609 (22,335) and 60632 (22,051) on Chicago’s Southwest Side, 60611 (22,334) near the Loop, 60642+60622 (21,076) on the Far North Side, and 60618 (21,033) on Chicago’s North Side. By 2015 the three zip codes with the most manufacturing jobs included 60614 (8,180), 60609 (6,373), and 60633 (5,414). No other zip code areas had more than 5,000 manufacturing jobs.

• For total private-sector jobs, jobs started to become concentrated in the present day Loop, while the number of jobs on the Southwest Side and West Side decreased. By 2015 Zip codes around Englewood and West Englewood and other South Side areas have comparatively very few jobs to other zip codes. Most of the jobs are located the central portion of the city in the Loop and in community areas of River North, New East Side and Magnificent Mile.


For 16 to 19 year olds, communities with high jobless rates are primarily located on the predominantly Black West, South, and Far South sides, with notably high jobless rates on predominantly Latino Northwest and Southwest sides.

The lowest rates are in community areas bordering Lake Michigan near the Loop and North Side and those on the Far North Side with the highest concentrations of White population.

• Jobless rates for 20 to 24 year olds by community areas show a sharp contrast between the predominantly Black South and West sides and all other parts of the city that have comparably lower jobless rates. The lowest jobless rates in the city are in the predominantly white community areas on the North and Far North sides where rates are less than half of those on the South and West sides.

• Jobless rates for 16 to 19 year-olds in community areas that have a predominantly African American population range from 96 percent in Pullman on the South Side to 91 percent in West Side Austin. Predominantly Latino community areas on the Southwest and Northwest sides had jobless rates between 80 and 90 percent. Most areas where rates were lower than 80 percent were on the North and Far Northwest sides.

• For 20 to 24 year-olds, jobless rates on the South and West sides ranged from 72 percent in East Garfield Park and 70 percent in West Englewood to 58 percent in West Garfield Park. Community areas on the North and Northwest sides ranged from 17 percent in Lakeview to 27 percent in Lincoln Square.

“In the process of assembling, organizing and analyzing this data, one thing became very clear to us,” said Teresa Córdova, Director of the Great Cities Institute. “The roots of the joblessness crisis are structural and reflective of long term trend. We continue to see the devastating impact for generations of young people who have no opportunity to work. It is a tragedy for those young people, their households, their communities, and the city as a whole.”

Hearing conveners, including the Alternative Schools Network, Chicago Urban League, Westside Health Authority, Chicago Area Project, Black United Fund of Illinois, the National Youth Advocate Program, Youth Connection Charter School, La Casa Norte, Lawrence Hall, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Metropolitan Family Services and Heartland Alliance organized a panel comprising six young people and two representatives from businesses that employ youth. They kicked off a discussion at the Chicago Urban League event with the agency leaders, elected officials and youth in attendance about what it’s like to be jobless in Chicago, what works for young people and employers and how to advance a policy agenda, put forth by the conveners, of expanding job opportunities and job preparedness programs through youth employment programs.

“The escalating joblessness for our Black and Brown youth reflects a sustained lack of effective private and public interventions,” said Shari Runner, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “Not only is failing to adequately address this crisis fueling the city’s underground economy and gun violence, but it is further entrenching racial inequality. We must collectively reinvest with a renewed sense of urgency to advance opportunities so that all of our young people may thrive.”

The panel moderator was Susan Richardson, Editor & Publisher of the Chicago Reporter.

Elected officials in attendance included:

• U.S. Sen. Richard “Dick” Durbin, Minority Whip
• U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-9
• Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
• Andrea Zopp, City of Chicago Deputy Mayor, Chief Neighborhood Development Officer
• IL State Sens. Mattie Hunter, D-3
• IL State Reps. Kelly Burke, D-36; Will Davis, D-30; La Shawn Ford, D-8; Elizabeth Hernandez, D-24; Camille Lilly, D-78; Theresa Mah, D-2; Juliana Stratton, D-5 & Arthur Turner, D-9
• City of Chicago Aldermen Pat Dowell, Ward 3; Jason Ervin, Ward 28; Sophia King, Ward 4; Emma Mitts, Ward 37; Harry Osterman, Ward 48; Roderick Sawyer, Ward 6; Michael Scott Jr., Ward 24; & Christopher Taliaferro, Ward 29
• Cook County Commissioners Richard R. Boykin, D-1, Bridget Gainer, D-10, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-7 & Robert Steele’s Assistant, David Evers
• Executive Director, Justice Advisory Council, Lanetta Haynes Turner

Presenters included:

• Shari Runner, President & CEO, Chicago Urban League
• Jesse Ruiz, Chairman, Chicago Park District
• Sheila Venson, Executive Director, Youth Connection Charter School
• Teresa Cordóva, Director, University of Illinois at Chicago Great Cities Institute
• Jack Wuest, Executive Director, Alternative Schools Network


The Alternative Schools Network (ASN) is a not-for-profit organization in Chicago working to provide quality education with a specific emphasis on inner-city children, youth and adults. Since 1973, ASN has been supporting community based and community-run programs to develop and expand training and other educational services in Chicago’s innercity neighborhoods. In addition to supporting direct services, ASN has been a consistent and effective advocate for community-based services whereby the people involved are active participants in developing and running programs – not passive recipients of services. To shape policies and programs, ASN has built an impressive track record of operating successful education, employment and support service programs. For more information please visit


UIC Great Cities Institute is to link its academic resources with a range of partners to address urban issues by providing research, policy analysis and program development. Tied to the University of Illinois at Chicago Great Cities Commitment, GCI seeks to improve quality of life in Chicago, its metropolitan region and cities throughout the world.


Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League is a civil rights organization that empowers and inspires individuals to reach and exceed their economic potential. The Chicago Urban League supports and advocates for economic, educational and social progress for African-Americans through our agenda focused exclusively on economic empowerment as the key driver for social change. For more information, visit

For a complete copy of the report:


New Report Shows Cook County Worst in Nation for Black 20-24 Year Olds Out of School & Out of Work

CHICAGO – The numbers in a new University of Illinois at Chicago Great Cities Institute (GCI) report, A Lost Generation: The Disappearance of Teens and Young Adults from the Job Market in Cook County, tell a tragic and alarming story about a generation of Black and Hispanic young people being left behind as the employment programs that could help them catch up remain severely underfunded by government at every level.

“Across all employment indicators, for 20-24 year olds, Whites in Cook County fare better than all other groups including Whites in Illinois, the U.S. and counties containing New York City, Los Angeles and Houston,” said the report, using 2014 data. “Conversely, Blacks in Cook County in comparison to all groups across all geographies have the highest rates of joblessness as well as the highest rates of those out of school and out of work.”

Triggered by GCI’s earlier report, Lost: The Crisis of Jobless and Out Of School Teens and Young Adults in Chicago, Illinois and the U.S., Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer submitted a resolution for a hearing.

“We cannot let another summer go by with thousands of teenagers without jobs, and the skills that come with work,” Gainer said. “The report is clear – a lack of jobs for youth equals a lost opportunity to invest in our city.”

The resolution, calling for a discussion of the report’s “findings … on youth joblessness,” was co-sponsored by fellow Commissioners Richard R. Boykin, Robert Steele, Deborah Simms, John Daley, Joan Murphy and Jesus Garcia. That led to the Tuesday, March 22 hearing, entitled, “Nothing Stops a Bullet Like a Job,” convened by the Cook County Board’s Workforce, Housing and Community Development Committee and chaired by Gainer.

A coalition of Chicagoland non-profit organizations is organizing a multipronged drive to restore funding for youth employment programs, raise awareness of the crisis and stimulate debate on how to address youth joblessness. The hearing provided a public forum for them to air the grim findings in the new report and speak out about the consequences of allowing the crisis of unemployment among Cook County youths to fester.

“…(J)oblessness leads to poverty, drug abuse, homelessness and violence in our communities,” noted the Cook County Board resolution that set up the committee hearing. “(T)he persistence and severity of these conditions have ramifications for our young people and generations to come,” wrote the new study’s authors.

Requested by the Alternative Schools Network (ASN) and developed by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute (GCI), the new report shows that teens and young adults in Cook County are in the same dire straits as Chicago’s inner-city youths. The earlier report, released by GCI in January, compared employment levels for young people in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Inner-city teens and young adults in Chicago were worse off than those in the other two major cities.

“If we want to stop the violence that has swept through our communities, we have to start with getting our young people off the streets and into the workplace,” said ASN Executive Director Jack Wuest. “We are exploring every route possible to increase funding for youth job programs. We are working to get the private sector involved. We are working to get city, state and federal government funding. For those in public office who say the government can’t afford to fund these programs, we say, ‘the government can’t afford not to get our young people working.”

The new report shows Cook County youths, but especially Black and Hispanic males, are experiencing the same crisis as those in Chicago:
For 20 – 24 year olds in Cook County:

• Male, female disparities: In Cook County, for all groups, males had higher percentages of out of school and out of work than females, although the gap was highest between black males and females. Cook Co. Youth Jobless Report News Release 3/31/16 Page 2 of 2
• Black/White gap severe: The largest percentage gap across all geographies in 2014 was between Blacks and Whites in Cook County, where the employment-population ratio was 29.1 percentage points higher for the White population.

For 16 to 19 year olds in Cook County:

• Across the board increases in joblessness: Increases in joblessness between 2005 and 2014 occurred across all race/ethnic groups though most dramatically for Whites.
• Blacks & Hispanics males trail Whites: In Chicago a staggering 88.5 percent of Black males 16-19 and 87.4 percent of Hispanic males were jobless in 2014. Youths that age aren’t doing much better in Cook County as a whole, where 87 percent of 16-19 year-old Black males and 78 percent of Hispanics 16-19 were unemployed, compared to 74 percent of White teens.

For 20-24 year olds:

• Cook County mirrors Black Chicago experience: 39.5 percent of Blacks were out of school and out of work in Cook County, closely mirroring the 40.9 percent of Chicagoans in that age group that were similarly disconnected.
• Joblessness up for Blacks, down for Whites and Hispanics: Comparing the data from 2005 and 2014, joblessness went down for Whites and Latinos but up for Blacks.
• Hispanic employment lower in Illinois than in U.S.: Hispanic employment rates were lower in Cook County than Hispanic employment rates in Illinois and the U.S. in 2005 and 2014.

“In viewing Cook County, the starkest comparisons exist when we compare the South suburbs to the north suburbs,” the new report said.
• North’s employment rate double South’s: For 20-24 year olds, for example, employment-to-population ratios in North suburbs were more than twice as high as ratios in the south suburbs.
• Joblessness correlates with race: In Chicago, Community Areas with 40.1 percent to 60.0 percent and 60.1 percent to 80.0 percent of jobless rates were remarkably similar to the areas with over 90 percent black populations among the 18 to 24 year-olds population.
• Out-of-school, out-of-work highest in South suburbs: Southern Cook County, just south of the Chicago boarder, has an out of school and out of work rate of 40.8 percent for those aged 20-24, the highest in Cook County outside of Chicago.
• Youths in far north Cook areas fare the best: The areas on the northern border of Cook County had the lowest rates of out of school and out of work 20 to 24 year olds with rates of 7.4, 9.1 and 9.2 percent.

Those testifying at the hearing:

• Young people who have struggled to find work
• The Reverend Michael Pfleger, the Faith Community of St. Sabina
• The Reverend Father Dave Kelly, Precious Blood Ministries
• Teresa Córdova, Director, Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago
• Kelly Hallberg, PhD, Scientific Director, University of Chicago Crime Lab
• Karin M. Norington-Reaves, CEO, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership
• Mary Ellen Messner, Deputy Commissioner, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services
• Quiwana Bell, Chief Operating Officer, Westside Health Authority
• Andrew Wells, Director, Workforce Development Center, Chicago Urban League
• David Whittaker, Executive Director, Chicago Area Project
• Andre Cosey, Case Manager, Metropolitan Family Services
• Rachel Bhagwat, Community Engagement Coordinator, La Casa Norte
• Berto Aguayo, Senior, Dominican University, Mikva Challenge
• Kimberly Hopson, Resource Coordinator, Youth Connection Charter School
• Nkrumah English, Program Office, Black United Fund of Illinois
• Therese McMahon, Director of Training and Advancement, A Safe Haven Foundation
• Jack Wuest, Executive Director, Alternative Schools Network

ABOUT THE ALLIANCE FOR YOUTH JOBS Organizations who helped organize the hearing include ASN, Chicago Urban League, Westside Health Authority, Chicago Area Project, Black United Fund of Illinois, Mikva Challenge, Metropolitan Family Services, Youth Connection Charter School, A Safe Haven Foundation, the Latino Policy Forum and La Casa Norte. The hearing was held at the Cook County Board Room. In addition to Gainer, Commissioners Deborah Sims, Jeffrey R, Tobolski, Larry Suffredin and Richard R. Boykin serve on the committee. For a complete copy of the report:


Renew Woodlawn Restores Vacant And Abandoned Apartments Into Homes

WHAT: Community leaders will launch the Renew Woodlawn Homeownership Program that provides incentives to purchase a home in the South Side neighborhood of Woodlawn at a symbolic ribbon cutting that celebrates the first home closing under the program on Saturday, May 14, at 6144 South Cottage Grove Avenue. Renew Woodlawn is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Foreclosure Settlement Awards and the City of Chicago.

WHO: City of Chicago Alderman Willie B. Cochran, 20th Ward
City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (invited)
City of Chicago Commissioner David L. Reifman, Dept. of Development and Planning (Invited)
Gerard Smith, Branch Chief, Asset Resolution Specialist, Midwest Region Asset  Management, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
Bill Eager, Vice President, Chicago Area Preservation of Affordable Housing
Kristin Faust, President & CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Inc.
Jack Markowski, President & CEO, Community Investment Corporation
First Time Homebuyer

\WHEN: Saturday, May 14
10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Remarks and Symbolic Ribbon Cutting
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Home ownership Resource Fair

WHERE: Woodlawn Resource Center
6144 South Cottage Grove Avenue
Chicago, Ill. 60637

WHY: This program is part of the ongoing neighborhood revitalization efforts in Woodlawn initiated by nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing with its acquisition of the former Grove Parc Plaza in 2008 and a HUD Choice grant awarded to POAH and the City of Chicago in 2011. Renew Woodlawnprovides incentives to purchase and rehabilitate homes including grants for down payments and other assistance.

Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) is a nonprofit developer, owner and operator of nearly 9,000 affordable homes in nine states and the District of Columbia. POAH’s primary mission is to preserve and create affordable rental homes for low and moderate income individuals, seniors, and families. POAH owns and operates 780 homes in Chicago including 2 multifamily and a senior building along South Cottage Grove called Woodlawn Park and other apartment buildings and brownstones in Woodlawn and surrounding neighborhoods.

Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Inc. (NHS) works in partnership with business, government and residents to revitalize neighborhoods and help individuals and families purchase, improve and prevent the loss of 1-4 unit homes, serving over 4,800 clients last year. NHS works to deliver comprehensive, tailored solutions to help families achieve sustainable, affordable housing.

Community Investment Corporation (CIC) is the Chicago metropolitan area’s leading lender for the acquisition, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable rental housing. CIC financing provides badly-needed investment in credit-starved communities and ensures affordable housing for Chicago’s workforce.






91% Of Chicago Black Male Teenagers Jobless In 2012-13
A new report providing a comparative analysis of youth unemployment between Chicago, Illinois and the United States will be released at the Chicago Urban League Youth Employment: A Smart Investment Youth Hearing. Despite a growing national economic recovery, Chicago is one of the nation’s leaders in teenage youth joblessness with low-income Black and Hispanic teens continuing to fall significantly behind.
The report, A Frayed Connection: Joblessness among Teens in Chicago, conducted by Dr. Paul Harrington from the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University uses recent American Community Survey and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey data and is part of an ongoing series commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network (ASN).
Former out of school high school students from ASN schools will present testimony to a panel of state and local public officials regarding the impact of youth joblessness. Additional hearing co-sponsors include Westside Health Authority, Chicago Area Project, Black United Fund of Illinois and Youth Connection Charter School.

Youth Hearing Panelists will include:
  • Janice Collier on behalf of Governor Bruce Rauner
  • IL State Senators Mattie Hunter, District 33; Emil Jones III, District 14; Heather Steans, District 7; and Donne Trotter, District 17
  • IL State Representatives Monique Davis, District 27; Will Davis, District 30; Marcus Evans Jr., District 33; La Shawn Ford, District 8; Elizabeth Hernandez, District 24;Thaddeus Jones, District 29; and Rita Mayfield District 60 
  • Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Evelyn, Diaz on behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel 
  • City of Chicago Aldermen Jason Ervin, Ward 28; Emma Mitts, Ward 37; Harry Osterman, Ward 48; and Latasha Thomas, Ward 17 
  • Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele 
  • Karen Chavers on behalf of Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin 
  • Paul Harrington, Center for Labor Markets and Policy, Drexel University 
  • Jack Wuest, Executive Director, Alternative Schools Network 
  • Andrea Zopp, President & CEO, Chicago Urban League 
  • Jesse Ruiz, Vice President, Chicago Board of Education

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Friday, January 30, 2015

Chicago Urban League, 4510 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

Out of school and out of work teens and young adults (“disconnected youth”) face adverse labor market consequences in their adult years, including higher incidence of unemployment, reduced earnings, and higher incidence of poverty. Jobless youth are also susceptible to various behavioral and health problems. Investments in creating meaningful work for these youth will pay dividends immediately and for years to come.
Media Kit: Media Alert | Fact Sheet