Youth Services Details
Your Future Starts Here
I need a GED.
GED classes in Illinois are free, but the four required GED tests cost $30 each. Career Link partners with local community organizations to reward students in GED classes as they make progress in improving their reading and math levels. Students who meet training goals can earn vouchers to help pay for the tests. Moreover, those who earn their GED may be eligible to receive other incentives. If you are under 24 years old and need a GED, please contact your local Career Link office to see if you qualify for these special incentive-based programs. Opportunities for paid job experience while studying for the GED are also available.
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.
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 pay for their training. Grants can cover up to $22,000 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 selected for funding. How are youth WIOA eligible? Individuals 16-24 years old and meet one or more of the following criteria are 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. The majority of our customers attend community colleges in our area, but some also attend four-year universities and some private for-profit technical schools. Presently, Career Link funds many students at area schools in healthcare; information technology; advanced manufacturing; and transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL). For example, many Career Link participants are enrolled in Nursing (LPN & RN), Respiratory Therapy, Secure Software Development, CNC Operators; Industrial Maintenance, Diesel Mechanic, Welding, and Supply Chain Management programs at local schools.