One year into Urban Alliance’s partnership with the Obama Foundation, our joint Obama Youth Jobs Corps program was featured on ABC 7 Chicago’s Windy City Live. Two students who joined the program as juniors and are now seniors in Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program were featured: Kenwood Academy High School students Ari Jasper, currently interning with Hyatt, and Jada Smith, currently interning with Exelon. Ari and Jada, along with the Obama Foundation’s Chief Engagement Officer Michael Strautmanis, spoke with Windy City Live host Val Warner about the program’s success and plans to provide even more talented youth in the city with access to workforce readiness training and meaningful early employment.
“Being able to work with adults in the professional world is really eye-opening,” Ari said. For Jada, who wants to be an accountant, working in Exelon’s tax department gave her a head start on her career. “Getting that part that most people don’t get until they get into college,” said Jada, has been so valuable.
As both an Urban Alliance partner and employer, The Obama Foundation’s Michael Strautmanis added: “I’d bet on Urban Alliance, and more than anything, I’d just bet on these young people. All they want is an opportunity … they not only help us do the work at the Obama Foundation, but frankly they light the place up … Urban Alliance makes it really easy for you to be successful and I think there’s nothing better for a workplace environment than to have an eager young person who’s ready to soak it up, ask all the questions, do great work, and then pay it forward and turn them into the kind of leaders in their community that we all need.”