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  News  

COLLEGE STUDENTS FIND PROMISING FUTURES
THROUGH DCFS SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

Over 20 Chicago area employers participated
in first-time program with favorable results

Chicago, August 1, 2005 - The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services today held a reception to celebrate the success of a first-time "Find Your Future" summer internship program involving 29 college students that have been served by the state's child welfare system. Employer representatives also were in attendance, and DCFS presented them with awards during the gathering that was held at the Thompson Center.

The interns began their day with workshops. Lucinda Dieker of the Center for Economic Progress conducted a presentation on taxes and another session on resume writing was offered. Afterward, DCFS hosted a luncheon to celebrate the internship program. Speakers included DCFS Director Bryan Samuels who expressed enthusiasm about "Find Your Future's" positive outcomes.

"The new internship program is an extension of DCFS' 'lifetime approach' that the Department introduced last year in an effort to improve services for children in state care. Given the results of this pilot program, we're even more confident that adding relevant work experience to services offered will help lead these talented students toward rewarding careers and self sufficiency," he said.

Sharing this optimism are many "Find Your Future" interns such as Danielle Baugh, a DCFS scholarship recipient and communications major at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.

"Working in the DCFS Office of Communications has given me with a broader perspective of the public relations world which I am sure will be beneficial in my future career. Some of my duties include interacting first-hand with the media, and I was even interviewed by Cliff Kelley on WVON Radio. These opportunities helped to maximize my internship experience, and for that I am eternally grateful," she said.

From an employer perspective, "Find Your Future" exceeded expectations for Winston & Strawn, a Chicago-based law firm that hired five interns this summer.

"We thoughtfully planned for our interns to have a well rounded experience. We intended for them to learn something work related and about themselves that they can apply in their lives," said Traci Bartosz, Employment Specialist at Winston and Strawn. The firm's human resources and technology directors along with lawyers conducted weekly meetings, plus interview training, and resume and LSAT exam preparation were offered.

After taking office in 2003, Governor Rod Blagojevich asked DCFS to focus on providing older wards with more educational opportunities and life-skills to ensure their long-term success. He commended DCFS, the interns and employers for achieving early success through "Find Your Future."

"I congratulate the interns for their dedication and focus in preparing for their future, the employers for investing in tomorrow's leaders and DCFS for organizing an exemplary program that enhances how our child welfare system should support youth in care," said Governor Blagojevich.

DCFS launched the internship program with an orientation in early June that featured business etiquette, networking and job evaluation workshops. Then during the program, mentoring opportunities were presented and field trips were organized. Examples included a visit to the Illinois Supreme Court along with meeting Supreme Court Justice Charles E. Freeman, a roundtable with Chicago Sun Times reporter Kate Grossman and attending baseball games to see the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox play.

DCFS cares for over 700 students enrolled two- and four-year colleges throughout the nation. Just last week, 48 college students received scholarships totaling over $700,000 and a luncheon was held to recognize their academic achievements. Over 100 college students applied for the internship program, and they attend colleges both around the state and others out of state including Yale University in New Haven, CT, Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and Fisk University in Nashville, TN.

The following employers hired interns for the “Find Your Future” internship program this summer:

Chicago Public Schools

DCFS – Director’s Office, Office of Communications, Guardian’s Office, Service Intervention

Office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

Winston & Strawn

WTTW – Channel 11

WGN-TV

Tribune Company

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

Lawrence Hall

Meckler Bulger & Tilson

Nuveen Investments

Seyfarth & Shaw

Univ. of Chicago Hospitals

McDermott, Will & Emery

IL Department of Public Health

Northwestern Medical School

Protestants for the Common Good

Park Lawn Organization

Stearns Family Foundation

Meckler, Bulger & Tilson

Chicagoland Publishing Co.


DCFS “Find Your Futureinterns are enrolled in the following colleges:

Eastern Illinois University (2)

Northern Illinois University (6)

Marquette University

Robert Morris College (2)

University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign (5)

Illinois State University (2)

Southern Illinois University –Edwardsville

Western Illinois University (3)

Elgin Community College

Yale University

Fisk University

Olive Harvey College

Lewis University

Daley College

College of Lake County

Employers who want to know more about “Find Your Future” or others that want to participate in next year’s program can contact Sujata Bhat in the DCFS Director’s office, 312-814-6831 or e-mail her at sbhat@idcfs.state.il.us.

###

Diane Jackson
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
312-814-6847

 

 

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