WIA Yes Programs

Youth Empowered to Succeed (YES!) is SER’s comprehensive initiative to fully develop the potential of youth, ages 14 to 24, who are at risk of not transitioning successfully into adulthood.  SER targets youth from low-income, underserved communities, including many who are ex-offenders and/or gang-affiliated.  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.  Providing these youth with a second, or even third, chance has the ultimate potential to improve the vitality of the community.

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 shtudents 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.


Bridges to Pathways

The Bridges to Pathways Initiative that helps youth being released from detention centers with achieving education and employment goals.  The six month pilot includes an intensive combination of:  1) high school credit and diploma recovery training, 2) cognitive behavioral therapy, 3) paid work experience, 4) career and college readiness training, 5) service-learning, and 6) individualized career planning and referrals to other supports.


Intensive Youth Services

Project Onward is a supplemental academic service program that address through the challenging needs of in and out of school youth who are gang affiliated and court involved.  This program takes a holistic approach to academic enrichment and youth development. Each participant receives comprehensive academic services that include both traditional and innovative approaches.  In addition to classroom instruction, this program implements alternative learning methods such as peer led instruction and education through field trips and community service projects.



Youthbuild is an intensive, six-month program that integrates GED preparation with construction training and community service projects.  This program serves out-of-school youth ages 18-24.


Youth Futures

Youth Futures is a program working with out-of-school youth, ages 16-22, who have been touched by the justice system.  This program focuses on GED attainment, restorative justice programming and mentorship.


Youth Working For Success

Youth Working for Success is a program designed to provide employability skills training, civic leadership, and internship experience for court involved youth ages 16-24. 


Employability skills training includes goal setting, career and education pathway planning, and financial literacy training.  The civic leadership component is a student-led service learning project that gives participants the opportunity to accept and demonstrate their leadership skills and abilities that can benefit and restore their community.  Participants are then able to apply what they have learned about themselves and their career goals as they are placed into internships with employers throughout Chicago.

Get Involved!