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Success Stories

Read how Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

This Act was signed into law on August 7, 1998, capping
a seven-year effort to consolidate and streamline
the nation's employment and training programs. WIA
replaced the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA),
enacted October 13, 1982. Under WIA, the federal government,
states, and local communities join efforts to develop
a system providing workers with job search assistance,
training, and advice. In addition, all entities work
together to provide employers with skilled workers.
See the Resources section of the course for more information.

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works for people in Illinois.

WIA Works Success Stories and Letters are an amazing collection of testimony to the value WIA Works for Illinois has fostered and the positive impact on our communities.

Success Stories and Letters are organized around congressional districts and reveal the importance and broad success that the program provides to local workforce development throughout the state.

Read a few and you’ll believe! And become part of the conversation; add your story now.

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To submit WIA Training or Employment Success Stories, follow these three easy steps:

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Submit your WIA training and employment success story.


View WIA Works for Illinois success stories and letters below.

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This is me helping a kid build robots
My Summer Making Robots 07
I found out about the SYEP program from my science teacher. I was interested in it because it had ... Read the Story >>
Martin, 60651-1706
I found out about the SYEP program from my science teacher. I was interested in it because it had "engineering" in the description. I want a career in engineering. I worked with my classmate Scott to build an 18 x 18 robot program. This program helped me because it offered me the opportunity to learn job skills specific to the engineering field and helped me get prepared for my future. Now I have programming experience that I can use to update my resume along with the other skills I learned in the program. It was a good experience.


2014-08-20

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Just Me
My Summer of Growth with SYEP 01
My experience with the summer youth employment program was amazing. I learned new things such as ... Read the Story >>
Imani, 60643-4280
My experience with the summer youth employment program was amazing. I learned new things such as how to build a good resume, time management, and even information about domestic violence and bullying. I also learned job skills such as painting and other maintenance and cleaning skills. My mentor Doris Massey was the best she made sure I didn't give up and kept me going. She was very encouraging me and thanks to her and the program I feel more prepared for other job and life experiences.



2014-08-18

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SYEP Image
My First SYEP and Job Experience 01
Before I participated with the Summer Youth Program I had never had a job. It was a struggle trying ... Read the Story >>
Aneisha, 60619-7506
Before I participated with the Summer Youth Program I had never had a job. It was a struggle trying to find an employer that would hire me. That why i was so excited to be able to participate in this program. I learned a lot in my short time in the program. I learned how to work with others in a work environment, time management, and other job skills. I also learned about things to get me ready for a job, like my resume. I also learned some big self lessons like if you want something you will have to work for it. Overall this summer I learned that hard works pays off, and that I am ready to find other jobs that will be a good fit for me.


2014-08-18

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a pretty picture of me
My Summer Employment Experience 01
My name is Katherine Franklin and I would like to share my experience with working in the Summer ... Read the Story >>
Katherine, 60643-4420
My name is Katherine Franklin and I would like to share my experience with working in the Summer Youth Employment Program. To me it was a great experience I've learned a lot of new things. I've learned to paint and do office work such as answer the phone, file papers, work the fax and printer machine, organize things, etc. I feel I am more prepared to get other employment and use what I learned to help me feel confident in doing that. If I can do it all over I would. I have had a great summer of working, learning, and earning money.


2014-08-18

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SYEP Image
My Summer Job Experience 02
This summer was the first time working at a real job. I was excited to be in the Summer Program and ... Read the Story >>
Anthony, 60617-3220
This summer was the first time working at a real job. I was excited to be in the Summer Program and learn skills and be working at an actual job placement. The job was hot and hard work but it was an awesome experience.  I liked having a job it keep me off the street all summer and it also help me find out what I would like to do for a career after high school. I had not thought much about my career or future but this program not only taught me job skills but also go me thinking about my future. This was a good experience for me and I am thankful for being able to be part of this program.


2014-08-18

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riding in dump truck
My Chance to Make a Positive Change 12
Using the WIA Works system has had a positive impact on me. ... Read the Story >>
Sterlin, 62060-1130

I was unemployed and struggling when I learned about the SYEP program and applied. This was a great opportunity for me. Many other jobs would not hire me because I did not have work experience, but this program gave me a chance. I was assigned to work for the City of Madison Street Department. During the course of the program I learned many new skills and trades such as operating different types of tractors and lawn care equipment. I also got to know many local political figures very well and have earned mutual respect and built new friendships with them. The SYEP has drastically impacted my life in a positive way and I sincerely appreciate everyone involved in the program.




2014-08-15

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I am on the left. This is the robot I made.
My Summer in Robotics 04
My name is Scott and I worked at Northeastern Illinois University to make robots for my summer job. ... Read the Story >>
Scott, 60651-2229
My name is Scott and I worked at Northeastern Illinois University to make robots for my summer job. I worked with Martin using Vex Robotics to program our robot to carry a cub to a designated area. I learned enough that I think that if I had to take an engineering course, I would already know the basics. This program helped my financially as well. I also never would have had the opportunity to make robots without this program. I wish I could continue to work with the robots but I feel more prepared now for my future jobs and training programs.

2014-08-15

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SYEP Image
My Productive Safe Summer 02
I am a young woman living in Chicago. I was looking to find a job as a way to earn money and have a ... Read the Story >>
Asia, 60617-2215
I am a young woman living in Chicago. I was looking to find a job as a way to earn money and have a safe and productive summer. I found the SYEP program and it was a great opportunity. The program helped keep me focused and allowed me the opportunity to reprioritize me life and my goals. I looked at things from a different perspective when I started working, now I look at things as how can they benefit my future plans. This program has given me the chance to have a productive summer in the city and have me the confidence to grow and see the world differently. I am looking forward to using the skills I learned this summer to help me change and better my life.

2014-08-15

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My Story
My success at Banner Academy during SYEP 07
Hi my name is Aaron Washington. I heard about the SYEP through my high school Banner Academy. I ... Read the Story >>
Aaron, 60644-1646
Hi my name is Aaron Washington. I heard about the SYEP through my high school Banner Academy. I hope to further my future by attending a community college. I currently work as a stockperson at Food 4 Less. The SYEP program was a good opportunity to get hands on experience, training, and skills for the real world. In the program I did office work, like typing and answering the phones. The gardening was nice as well. Learning gardening skills to better our communities is a great way to come together and do good things. I learned a lot in my program and hope that those skills will continue to help me as I start college and other employment.

2014-08-14

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SYEP Image
Westside Holistic Leadership Academy 01
Two years ago, I entered Dominican University as a college freshman. After studying at Dominican ... Read the Story >>
Armani, 60620-2635
Two years ago, I entered Dominican University as a college freshman. After studying at Dominican for two years, I came to the conclusion that it would be important for me to find a good summer job to help pay for school since every year my college tuition continued to increase. Receiving a college degree is highly important to me because it lets me know I accomplished one of my long- term life goals, so finding a job was important. Being an employee at West-Side Holistic Leadership Academy in the SYEP program helped me with valuable lifelong skills. As an office assistant, I learned the importance of organization, communicating with people in the correct manner, and understanding the everyday functioning of the workplace environment. Being a part of this program has helped me establish long term opportunities and continue my education.

2014-08-14

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My Story
A Future in the Administration Industry 07
My name is Elizabeth Land and I was given the opportunity to participate in the SYEP program. The ... Read the Story >>
Elizabeth, 60644-1335
My name is Elizabeth Land and I was given the opportunity to participate in the SYEP program. The program helped me with job skills and it helped me learn how to talk to people in a professional setting. I learned how to fax papers, answer phones and file documents. It was a fun experience and I would love to keep doing it.  This is not my first time working with SYEP and every year that I work with the program I have felt better after each summer. I acquired many skills; I’ll be able to complete job applications and create my resume. I thought it was going to be hard at first but as I worked, it was easy because I was doing things correctly and had a sense of pride in what I was doing. Now, I love coming to work for the program and I can also see myself doing this type of job in the future. Thank you for the opportunity!

2014-08-14

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I am the meaning of a success story.
My Summer Learning Experience 07
My name is Larmesha Hinton and I am a graduate of Ada S McKinley high School. I am 19 years old and ... Read the Story >>
Larmesha, 60653-1417
My name is Larmesha Hinton and I am a graduate of Ada S McKinley high School. I am 19 years old and I have a two year old daughter. This program helped me provide for my daughter while learning skills that I will be able to use in my future jobs. I learned how to complete my resume and how to market my skills to employers. The work program this summer gave me more of a sense of what true responsibility is. I really appreciate this experience because it would have been hard to find summer employment without this program and the skills and resume information I learned. Now I am more ready to enter the work force with confidence.

2014-08-14

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My Story
A Summer Learning Experience 07
My name is Keyshon Jenkins and during this program I’ve learned a lot. I learned how to start a ... Read the Story >>
Keyshon, 60651-3219
My name is Keyshon Jenkins and during this program I’ve learned a lot. I learned how to start a garden, fax papers, answer phones, data entry, file papers and be more professional. I also learned how to work with others more effectively. This program taught me how to manage my money, and control my anger. We also learned the real meaning of bullying. For me this program helped me grow a lot. I think my success in this program was first getting the chance to be in the program, then coming everyday on time, and sticking to it and finishing it.  I’m grateful for having the chance to work with this program. Thanks SYEP for this opportunity.

2014-08-14

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My Story
Success at Banner Academy 07
Hello my name is Tiffany and I worked at Banner Academy in the summer for extra money in my pocket ... Read the Story >>
Tiffany, 60651-1023
Hello my name is Tiffany and I worked at Banner Academy in the summer for extra money in my pocket and to learn skills. I heard about this program from a staff a member here at Banner. I am a graduate from Banner and plan on going to school or working after the summer program is over. The worksite was great, we learned office skills like how to answer the phone in a proper manner and typing, we also worked outside in our garden. I am very interested in a full time position at Banner because the school itself is a great school and the staff members are very nice and respectful. The program was great, I liked it and enjoyed all that I learned in my time in the program.

2014-08-14

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My Story
My Summer of Feeling Accomplished 04
My name is Kenyall Williams. The SYEP program is great for teens like me to get the chance to ... Read the Story >>
Kenyall, 60804-2333
My name is Kenyall Williams. The SYEP program is great for teens like me to get the chance to explore and expand their vision in the work environment. We did things like cleaning, mopping, sweeping and other tasks. I feel like learning on the job keeps me motivated through the whole program. My experience from the summer youth employment program was awesome because it gave me a chance to feel different and gave me a feeling I never felt before, pride and accomplishment. Earning my own money really made me feel like a man for the first time. It was great! I am excited to find another job using what I learned from the SYEP program.

2014-08-14

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My Story
My SYEP Gardening Story 07
My name is Lashawn Jenkins the SYEP program is a great program. I believe it helped keep kids off ... Read the Story >>
Lashawn, 60636-2103
My name is Lashawn Jenkins the SYEP program is a great program. I believe it helped keep kids off the street and in jobs during the summer. The program taught us how to work with other youths even though sometimes it was hard because everyone was not always on the same page much like other workplaces. The program also taught me responsibility, how to get to work on time, how to fill out time sheets, how to dress when you come to work, and how to talk to a person during conflict. This program also taught me how to build things and work outside in a garden as well as how to answer phones and make copies. The things I did during the program I never had done before. I liked the urban garden and what it does for my community. I had fun doing it and learned great skills. At first, I wasn’t so interested because I’m not an outside person.  However, getting a chance to learn how to plant and take pride in something I did was nice. If I was offered to work the program again I would, it was really fun and a good learning experience. I hope to use what I learned to find other employment to gain more experience for the future.

2014-08-14

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My Story
My Summer Employment Story 07
I would like to thank you for this wonderful work experience here at Banner Academy in the SYEP ... Read the Story >>
Pedro, 60651-1110
I would like to thank you for this wonderful work experience here at Banner Academy in the SYEP Program. My speaking skills have greatly increased while interacting with my coworkers and peers. I am very fortunate for the office work that I experienced as a part of the summer program. Learning how to operate the fax machine, stapling, and organizing files will be great skills towards jobs in the future. I appreciate the experience of filling out time sheets and using the time clock in the morning and at night. Even during urban gardening it gave everyone a sense of hard work because it definitely wasn't easy. Gardening days consisted of shoveling and spreading of some type of ground material. There were pounds of wood chips; we spread around the surface. The most important thing I would say, I learned was teamwork and adapting to everyone's personality. In due time, the hard work became fun, I guess my body got used to the work or my peers made it fun. Thank you again! I truly appreciate this opportunity and would love to participate once again.

2014-08-14

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SYEP Image
My Summer as an Office Aide 01
My name is Ashley Procter. The past six weeks of my summer, I spent working as an office aide for ... Read the Story >>
Ashley, 60620-2635
My name is Ashley Procter. The past six weeks of my summer, I spent working as an office aide for WHLA. As an office aide, I had to complete different task such as; filing papers, making copies of transcripts, creating employee manuals and student/parent handbooks, and complete any additional tasks asked of me. While working here I have learned organizational skills, how to take direction from authority, and how to work on a schedule. I've also learned how to work under pressure and in intense situations. I have learned a lot this summer and hope that I can participate in the program again.

2014-08-14

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My Story
My Summer Garden Adventure 07
My name is David Lewiton. I am a Banner Academy student. The SYEP program was great. It kept me ... Read the Story >>
David, 60651-2208
My name is David Lewiton. I am a Banner Academy student. The SYEP program was great. It kept me busy and off the streets. I learned urban gardening skills and office skills. In the office we typed, filed, copied and answered phones. Outside in the garden we prepared the garden and started the beautification process. I would like to do the program again it was a great learning experience, I learned a lot of skills and a lot about myself. It was fun and now I am ready to go onto college and to find a job will the skills I learned.

2014-08-14

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My Story
My SYEP Growth Story 07
My name is Nya Ruffin. I was given the opportunity to participate in the SYEP Program. My summer ... Read the Story >>
Nya, 60644-1615
My name is Nya Ruffin. I was given the opportunity to participate in the SYEP Program. My summer was fun and occupied. This program helped me realize that I can perform essential job skills like making and answering phone calls, filing papers, entering data and making copies for co-workers at the office. Learning this made me feel more confident in my ability to speak in public. This program provides me with job skills and work readiness for the future. I can see myself working here again next summer or in any office or garden setting.

2014-08-14

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My Story
My SYEP Success with Banner Academy 07
My name is Derrick Conner and my summer youth employment program team was admiring, caring and ... Read the Story >>
Derrick, 60624-1225
My name is Derrick Conner and my summer youth employment program team was admiring, caring and funny. I learned how to work with new people and to be more patient. I also learned how to be a responsible employee. I learned real job skills that will help me in the future. This was a fun experience for me and everybody including my co-workers, who are now my friends. Because of this job, I have new friends that I can call at any time for help and we can work together to encourage each other for future success. It was a blessing to work here and if I could do it again, I would.

2014-08-14

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My Story
Gardening for My Community 04
My name is Teryana Hurd and I was employed through the summer youth program. My job was an office ... Read the Story >>
Teryana, 60623-2836
My name is Teryana Hurd and I was employed through the summer youth program. My job was an office clerk/urban gardener. In the office I was assigned to answer phones, file papers, and organize the school. I enjoyed working in the garden with my peers to help better the community. Overall, this is a great program and it helps us prepare for future jobs and learn some responsibility. Working in the garden helps us to learn social and work skills. It beautifies the community and helps us to give back all while learning for the future. Thank you for this opportunity and this great life experience.

2014-08-14

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My Story
My SYEP Office Aide Story 07
My name is Candy Palmer. I heard about the SYEP Program through my high school, Banner Academy. I ... Read the Story >>
Candy, 60639-3811
My name is Candy Palmer. I heard about the SYEP Program through my high school, Banner Academy. I am a graduate and plan on continuing my education at Harold Washington, so I can build my career. I am very interested in business. The SYEP program has taught me a number of things: I learned responsibility, how to be on time, the appropriate way to dress and how to work as a team. I also learned some great skills: gardening, filing, and how to clean the proper way. Working in the office is my favorite part of all. I like working in the office because this is the main type of work I look for when searching for jobs. Urban gardening was fun to work with also, it was to beautify our neighborhood and it is just looks amazing. I would love to do it again. Thank you for the opportunity!

2014-08-14

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My Story
Community Garden Success 05
My name is Daniel Holmes. I am one of the summer workers from Banner. I worked in the urban garden. ... Read the Story >>
Daniel, 60641-1335
My name is Daniel Holmes. I am one of the summer workers from Banner. I worked in the urban garden. I had fun working with my co-workers and learning new things together and working as a team. We worked hard to help the community look better. I learned how to garden and work more with my hands. Over all, I view this as a great program. It helped us financially, physically and mentally. Working in the garden helped me meditate and that is a great way to keep my body in shape. This job helped me get ready for the world as an adult and helped me understand how a real job works. I learned about getting up early in the morning and doing some things you are not necessarily comfortable with at first. As a high school graduate this money helps with my future plans. I am thankful for this opportunity to work and learn new skills.

2014-08-14

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Danielle Turner
Ready for More Sucess! 01
My name is Danielle.  My success started when I graduated June 20th. Then, I began working ... Read the Story >>
Danielle, 60615-1844
My name is Danielle.  My success started when I graduated June 20th. Then, I began working with the summer program. I was placed at a job site which was a great opportunity to learn some new skills. I am very appreciative that I was offered this job and the opportunity to learn more about and how to prepare for the work place. Having this job gave me the chance to provide for myself and not ask my grandmother for things all the time. I learned how to budget my income and only get things I really needed so that I wouldn't be living pay check to pay check. I was able to save a lot of my wages for the future. I learned new skills but I also learned things that will help me grow as an employee and make me more marketable to employers. I had a great summer!

2014-08-14

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