Services for Youth (16-24)
Career Link works with teens and young-adults who need help with education and training that leads to employment.
Who should contact Career Link?
Anyone who needs a GED, or who has a high school diploma or equivalent, but wants to explore additional education and/or training in marketable work skills.
I need a GED.
GED classes in Illinois are FREE, but the actual tests (there are four) cost $30 each. Career Link has partnerships with local community colleges to reward students in GED classes as they make progress in improving their reading and math levels. Opportunities for paid job experience while studying for the GED are also available. Students who are meeting training goals can also earn vouchers to help pay for the tests. Moreover, those who earn their GED in some cases may be eligible to receive other incentives, including cash in some cases. If you are under age 24 and need a GED, please contact your local community college or Career Link to see if you qualify for these special incentive-based programs.
I need a Job.
The staff in our resource centers can help all job seekers access job leads through the internet or at local hiring events. Assistance is available at no cost, in helping job seekers to produce a resume and to learn how to market skills to area employers.
Summer Employment: Some years Career Link has federal workforce grants to place youth in a summer job/work experience program. Career Link places the youth with an area employer and pays the wages of the trainee to help the person develop job skills and references for future job applications.
Career Link also assists some students in Career Link funded training with part-time paid work experience and internships during the school year.
I need help paying for college or technical training.
Career Link administers federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grants. Students interested in high growth training programs that lead to good paying jobs should apply to Career Link for a WIOA grant to complete their training.
Grants can cover up to $15,000 in training costs PLUS books and supplies, uniforms, travel and childcare reimbursements!
Hundreds of students every year are selected to have 100% of their training costs covered as they work towards a community college certificate or an Associate Degree. Career Link also helps some students with the last two years of some bachelor degree programs. Talk to Career Link about your education and employment goals. We may be able to help you achieve your goals or refer you to other sources of financial aid.
Who is selected for WIOA funding?
WIOA grants are administered like many scholarships. Applicants must be determined to be WIOA eligible and then selected for funding. Who is WIOA eligible? The following individuals under the age of 25 are strongly encouraged to apply:
- Individuals who are a member of a low-income household (for example families eligible for SNAP benefits), or
- Individuals who have had experience with the juvenile or adult justice system, or
- Individuals who consider themselves to be “homeless”, or
- Individuals in foster care or who have aged out of foster care, or
- Individuals who are pregnant or a parent, or
- Individuals with a disability (learning or physical disability)
Funds are also available to
- Individuals who have lost a job and been determined eligible for Unemployment Insurance, or for
- Individuals who are a displaced homemaker – family income has changed because of the death or divorce of a working spouse
Who is typically selected? Applicants are tested in basic skills in reading and math and interviewed to assess their potential to achieve their educational and employment goals. Career Link helps students explore supportive services to obvious barriers and a training plan is developed. Students who appear to have the ability to successfully complete their training goals and work full-time in a field that will allow them to be financially self-sufficient are typically selected for WIOA funding.
What training programs can be funded with WIOA grants?
Most WIOA funded students are attending short-term training (less than 30 months) that lead to industry-recognized credentials that are required by employers. A majority of our customers, attend community colleges in our area but some also attend 4-year
colleges and universities and some private for-profit technical schools as well. Presently, Career Link is helping to fund many students attending area schools where they are earning credentials to work in the healthcare industry. Specific examples include Nursing (LPN & RN), Respiratory Therapy, and Physical Therapy Assistants, to name just a few.
Career Links also funds students in other high-growth job fields such as manufacturing. A few examples include CNC Operators and Programmer, Maintenance Mechanics and welders.
Contact a Career Link office nearest you to discuss your career goals. We can help you to explore your interests and skills while educating you about what occupations are in demand now and which ones are projected to be in demand tomorrow. If employers in our area are looking for skilled workers, we are often training individuals to work in those occupations and industries.
Can you recommend any on-line sites to help me explore career pathways today?
A FREE federal site we recommend is https://www.careeronestop.org/GetMyFuture
A FREE site here in Illinois is http://www2.illinoisworknet.com
How do I get started with Career Link?
Call or visit the Career Link office in the county where you live. Use the Staff Directory page to locate the office nearest you.
Customers who already have a training plan and want to explore if they might be WIOA eligible and if the training they are seeking is currently approved for funding, can download the one-page pre-application and submit to the local Career Link staff. (If it appears you would be WIOA eligible and we would like you to formally apply, you will be asked to fill out a full application document. This larger document will better help us assess your education and employment goals and the needs you may have as a Career Link customer.
PDF –One page application for download. (HERE)
I am not sure yet what training I might like to pursue?
If you are not yet sure about your education/employment goals, allow Career Link to help you explore options. Call us with your questions or send an email using our Contact Us page to get started. Ask us how Career Link can help facilitate your exploration of your interests and skills.