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Goodwill Mission Stories

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Empower Youth | Helping teens and young adults reach their goals

Many youth and young adults face barriers to employment and access to resources to map a pathway to life they dream of – and we’re on a mission to ensure that no dream is out of reach.

We’re invested in helping the workforce of the future take the first step in shaping their lives by providing the tools needed to navigate employment challenges and achieve their goals.

To do this, we developed the Empower Youth: Career Training and Development program that provides job readiness training and placement support to help youth and young adults ages 16 to 24 prepare for and find their next job. When we open the door to opportunities, we can help build a foundation for sustained employment, career advancement and self-sufficiency.

“Empower Youth ignites hope and exposes youth and young adults to experiences and resources they may not have access to,” says Diana Muñoz, director, youth engagement. “By helping place them in jobs we can not only meet a financial need for many but provide guidance and resources via case management and support services not typically offered by employers, which can ultimately be life changing.”

Program case managers are dedicated to the success of participants helping them realize their potential, overcome obstacles and become a trusted source and mentor throughout the job process.

“Youth and young adults are the future, and I want to make sure that no one gets left behind, that their needs and voices are heard, and that they know they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to,” shares Nelly Melgoza, Empower Youth case manager.

The impact of Empower Youth extends beyond providing the skills needed to enter and navigate the workforce.

“Empower Youth helps youth and young adults realize the power they have in determining what their careers, communities and lives look like,” says Benji Junious, Empower Youth case manager.

Participant success is a lasting commitment. Empower Youth links them to resources like our Workforce Connection Centers, Goodwill TalentBridge, and other community services that offer ongoing support and personalized care throughout their life and career journey.

Tools For Success:

  • Job readiness training to prepare for the workplace
  • One-on-one support in finding and applying to jobs
  • Coaching to sharpen interview skills
  • Access to apply to part- and full-time jobs with local employers
  • Connection to community resources to navigate challenges
  • Supportive services to help get started in new role

Empowering Youth & Young Adults*:

  • 75 gained skills and found jobs
  • 25 started a career with Goodwill
  • 50 entered full-time work
  • 10 employers provided opportunities across 6 industries

*Numbers reflect 2023 program outcomes.

Learn More or Apply To Empower Youth

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440