WIOA Programs


Youth Empowered to Succeed (YES!) is SER’s comprehensive initiative to fully develop the potential of youth, ages 16 to 24, which are at risk of not transitioning educationally and emotionally successfully into adulthood. SER targets youth from low-income, underserved communities, including many who are ex-offenders and/or gang-affected. SER believes that these young individuals have the ability to become productive and thriving members of society if given the necessary support and resources. YES! helps youth identify, pursue and achieve their academic, job and career goals. SER’s YES! programs offer intensive career coaching and case management services, GED classes, job readiness, work-based learning, transportation, restorative justice, service learning projects, leadership training and much more. Call any of our locations today to learn more about this program and find out if you are eligible!

PODER: Afterschool Program

PODER (Positive Outcomes Delivered through Education and Respect) is a 21st Century Community Learning Center funded by the Illinois State Board of Education as a part of the No Child Left Behind Act.  PODER currently operates as an after school program that promotes academic and social enrichment to students in low-income Title 1 schools who are of the greatest need.  PODER operates in schools that are low-income Title 1 schools that have failed their AYP (Adequate yearly progress).  Not only do the children face academic and economic challenges, but most sites are also located in gang-infested neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods provide very few positive and structured opportunities for the students after school, leaving the students susceptible to gang-violence.

Intensive Youth Services & Project Onward

This supplemental academic service program addresses the challenging needs of in and out of school youth who are gang-affected and court involved. This program takes a holistic approach to academic enrichment and youth development by providing each participant comprehensive academic services including classroom instruction and implementing alternative learning methods such as peer led instruction and education intensive field trips and work-based community service projects. SER works collaborative with justice partners to provide services and establish support systems that helps youth in all facets of their life.


Youth Working For Success

Youth Working for Success is a program designed to provide employability skills training, civic leadership and internship experiences for court involved youth ages 16-24. The training includes goal setting, career and education pathways planning and financial literacy skills. In addition, the civic leadership component is a student-led service learning project that gives participants the opportunity to accept responsibility and demonstrate their leadership skills and abilities in projects that benefit and restore their community. Participants are able to apply what they have learned about themselves and their career goals while placed into internships and employers throughout the Chicagoland area.


Mayors Mentoring Initiative

Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative program services 8th, 9th and 10th grade youth from South Lawndale neighborhood. MMI youth receive support to achieve positive school outcomes, lower justice involvement and link youth to appropriate employment opportunities. This mentoring based program connects identified youth to caring adults who will help to serve as positive roles models, coaches and guides as youth navigate their teenage years; mentoring has been proven to increase high school graduation and reduce violence.

Afterschool Matters

After School Matters youth participants learn the basics of design, sketching, drawing and painting. Identified participants create, “Villapalooza”, The Little Village Music Festival which gives 15 youth participants from the South Lawndale neighborhood the opportunity to work with a talented artist and festival organizer. Youth through this program gain access to service outlets and participate in workshops such as health and wellness, community engagement, violence prevention and career readiness.


The student Outreach and Re-engagement (SOAR) program, in collaboration with Chicago Public Schools, serves students who need a new pathway toward high school graduation. SOAR offers additional supports and services for students who have been out of school and seek to return, or who may need opportunities to earn credits in an accelerated program.

Opportunity Works

Located at SERCO – Southwest Suburban Cook County American Job Center, the Opportunity Works program is a sector-driven program that helps young adults who are disconnected from both work and school to participate in paid internships and find a career pathway in Manufacturing. This program features, job readiness and career exploration, internship placement, sector-specific training, job retention support and wrap around services.

One Summer Chicago

For the 2nd year in a row, SER has hosted the One Summer Chicago program, connecting youth to a successful future with a summer job. In 2016, SER enrolled 80 youth and placed all 80 at worksites with 79 youth completing the 7-week program. In 2017, SER has enrolled 100 youth and placed all 100 youth at worksites. Participants have started on their civic engagement project and begin preparing for job readiness. Participants practice workforce engagement skills on