D.202 approves pact with city for cop, job coordinator
Updated: March 22, 2013 9:59AM
EVANSTON – The city of Evanston will provide a second police officer and a career and job coordinator at the local high school, under a pact finalized last week.
The Board of Education of Evanston Township High School District 202 voted unanimously to approve the intergovernmental agreement, despite concerns over the potential duplication of existing services at the school.
The City Council approved the proposal in January, in the wake of recent shootings in Evanston and the massacre of 26 children and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.
“We’ve had ongoing discussions with the city about safety and the community,” said Bill Stafford, chief financial officer for District 202, who presented the proposal to the board. “Out of these meetings came this proposed partnership that we think is a really solid idea.”
The proposal will implemented as a pilot program for 17 months, Stafford said.
ETHS officials are finalizing the exact description for the career and job coordinator, who may be called a coach, said Shelly Gates, chairman of the Career and Technical Education Department.
Gates said the coordinator will assist:
• Juniors or seniors who are unsure of their post-secondary education plans.
• Graduating seniors who plan to work immediately after graduation.
• Students who must enroll in specific job training or certification programs to pursue their chosen career paths.
• Fifth-year seniors or students with “multiple barriers to post-secondary success.”
In 2012, 207 members, or 28 percent, of the graduating class at ETHS did not enroll at a two- or four-year college last fall, Gates said.
“We are assuming that we will have a similar number of ETHS grads this year who do not immediately go to college,” she said. “Those students, of course, will be a big focus for the person in this position.”
The current unemployment rate for Evanston residents 16 to 24 years old is 14.9 percent, while the current rate for African-American residents in the same age group is 29.4 percent, Gates said.
“Obviously, that is another concern and another area where the job-career coach would be helping students overcome barriers to employment,” she said.
The position will not offer the same services as the College and Career Center or the Learn and Earn program, Gates said.
“In terms of the (College and Career Center staff), this person will work with them but will target a very specific population of our students,” she said. “I think we need someone who can be on the ground and spend an enormous amount of time focusing on a very specific group of our students who have unique needs.”