Part of the youth employment initiative, Ombudsman Chicago student, Devonte Davis, works to refinish auditorium seats and flooring at CPS McPherson Elementary School on the city's North Side. (Courtesy of Ombudsman Chicago)


CHICAGO (June 20, 2014) – On the cusp of the summer season, the city’s most violent time of the year, local political and business leaders agree that jobs are key to quelling street violence in the City of Chicago. In a new initiative, Ombudsman Chicago is rallying together with community partners to help provide part-time employment opportunities for its students. 

A Chicago Public Schools Options School (not a charter), Ombudsman Chicago opened in August 2013 and offers teens a second chance at achieving academic success while preparing them for continuing education and a career. The Ombudsman Chicago youth employment initiative was created through a partnership with community activist and entrepreneur, Harold Davis. Through the initiative, Ombudsman Chicago students have the opportunity to earn a competitive wage while learning trade-related skills such as carpentry, welding, painting and drywall installation.

“Part-time employment offers a multitude of benefits to young people,” said Dr. Chaun Johnson, principal, Ombudsman Chicago. “From what we are seeing, students who are involved in the youth employment initiative show an increase in confidence levels as they develop a greater sense of responsibility and begin to envision a positive future for themselves.”

Ombudsman Chicago students ages 16 and older can complete an application and undergo a standard interview process to be considered for participation in the initiative; however, to remain in the program, students are required to show an improvement in their grades and in their school attendance.

“Students can immediately see the value of working at a job due to the monetary rewards; whereas the success that can be achieved by coming to school and committing to getting an education relies on future rewards and can feel distant by comparison,” said Harold Davis. “Requiring school attendance to participate in the employment initiative encourages accountability and helps the students to make a connection between the payoffs of both activities.”

Through the initiative, Ombudsman Chicago hopes to engage additional community partners and more than double the number of jobs available for its students during the summer months. Ombudsman Chicago is currently enrolling students for the fall semester. Visit or call (312) 806-9022 for more information. 

About Ombudsman Educational Services

Ombudsman Educational Services is a division of Educational Services of America (ESA), the nation’s leading provider of behavior therapy and alternative and special education programs for children and young adults. ESA partners with more than 250 public school districts in 23 states to serve 13,500 students each year in more than 160 schools and programs.

Ombudsman’s alternative education and dropout recovery programs help communities combat the staggering social and economic costs of high dropout rates. Since 1975, Ombudsman Educational Services has educated more than 155,000 at-risk students and students who have previously dropped out – and introduced them to all the opportunities a real high school diploma provides.