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Chicago-area employers celebrate achievement
of 30 college students as program completes its second year

CHICAGO, Aug. 10, 2006 - Leading Chicago-area employers joined Department of Children and Family Services Director Bryan Samuels tonight to acknowledge and celebrate the achievement of 30 college students in DCFS care who have just completed intensive, summer-long paid internships in their field of professional interest. In a closing reception held at the Mid-America Club in Chicago's Aon Building, Director Samuels and representatives from some of Chicago's top law firms, businesses and public agencies congratulated these college interns and encouraged them to build on this experience as they complete their education and begin their careers.

College students looking to begin a career need focus, dedication and education. They also need contacts to help them find their first on-the-job experience through internships or entry-level positions. For many, family and friends provide a ready-made network to help them get started, but not all college students have such built-in advantages. Find Your Future, now completing its second year, brings those advantages to youth in DCFS care. Interns were selected from applicants attending public and private colleges across the country, and matched with leading private and public sector employers in each student's area of interest. These Chicago-area employers help to provide DCFS youth with the knowledge, contacts and introductions critical to launching their careers.

"These youth bring a resilience and fortitude to the workplace that is welcomed and appreciated by today's employers," said DCFS Director Bryan Samuels. "Offering top-quality, career-oriented internships and jobs is one of the best ways the community can support DCFS as we work to meet the needs of older youth preparing for adulthood. We'd like to thank this year's employers and strongly urge more Illinois companies to participate by underwriting a stipend or hiring a youth in future years."

Winston and Strawn, LLP is a returning employer to the "Find Your Future" internship program, hiring 5 students last summer, and 2 new students and one returning intern this summer. "Getting involved in the Find Your Future internship program is a win-win for Winston and Strawn, LLP," according to former Governor James R. Thompson, Chairman. "We get promising young pre-law students who bring a fresh, vital diversity to our workplace and the young people learn about the law from a practical standpoint - something that will add to their appreciation of their studies and their long-term success."
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Charmaine Gray, a social work major at University of Illinois at Springfield, was matched with Voices for Illinois Children, a statewide advocacy organization promoting strategies to improve conditions for children in our state. "Working at Voices for Illinois Children this summer gave me the chance to use my voice and be heard as a former foster youth. My experiences gave me insight into the way policies are shaped - and the positive benefits of collaboration between private individuals and government. I couldn't have asked for a better summer."

DCFS Director Samuels said DCFS interns attend colleges including University of Illinois, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, Northeastern University, Richard J. Daley College and Chicago State University. Students maintaining a full-time schedule and "C" average receive financial assistance and access to medical care. DCFS Find Your Future students are studying professional fields such as law, health care, social work, education, communications, biology and engineering.

Employers participating in Find Your Future for 2006 included Winston & Strawn LLP, Voices for Illinois Children, Laner Muchin LLP, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, Lawrence Hall Youth Services, WTTW-Channel 11, Monsanto, LaRabida Children's Hospital, University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Police Department, City of Chicago Departments of Public Health and the Environment, Regional Transportation Authority, Illinois Housing Development Authority, and State of Illinois Departments of Children and Family Services and Human Services.

Find Your Future is part of a "lifetime approach" DCFS has introduced to provide better services for children and youth in state care, and to support the transition of older youth to a successful and productive adulthood. Supports for youth in the transition to adulthood include Find Your Future, Youth in College, Youth in Scholarship and the Employment Incentive Program.

Employers who want to know more about the program or participate in Find Your Future can contact Sujata Bhat in the DCFS director's office, 312-814-6831, or e-mail her at


Kendall Marlowe, DCFS
Delores Robinson, DCFS 312-814-6847

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