I love when a Youth comes back and says “Camille, I have a job, Thank you!”
Camille Montgomery began working at CHIL (Covenant House Illinois) only nine months ago, but she had already made an outsized impact with her coworkers and, most importantly, the youth she serves. “I started in July as a Youth Advisor,” reports Camille, providing direct care and supervision for youth in the CHIL drop-in center while supporting program staff toward the fulfillment of case plans and individual goals. Recently Camille has been promoted to Employment & Education Specialist. In her current role, Camille’s primary task involves helping CHIL youth find employment. From researching prospective employers to creating resumes to figuring out what to wear to an interview, she helps our young people through every step of the job hunting process.
“The first questions I ask," explains Camille when discussing her process for meeting with a youth for the first time, “is ‘Do you have a resume and do you have a high school diploma?’” The answers to these questions provide the basis from which she designs an action plan. “I try to find what’s best for a youth’s individual needs,” she continues. “I ask about what kind of jobs they’ve had and where they’ve worked before, and from there try to determine skill sets and interests. We then go online, search the job boards and start applying for positions”. But helping youth navigate internet job sites is just one strategy in Camille’s extensive toolkit for connecting young people to employment opportunities. She also actively seeks out partnerships with local employers, making connections with business owners and other prospective workplace contacts. “I have four local employers I’m currently connected with," says Camille. “I try to place youth with them whenever there’s a good fit.”
Although often challenging, Camille finds her work extremely fulfilling. “I love when a youth comes back and says, ‘Camille, I have a job. Thank you!’ It’s so rewarding to know that I was a part of that. You don’t do this for a pat on the back, but it’s nice to get it sometimes.” Camille is excited about the future and is eager to move into CHIL’s new home and headquarters this summer once the first phase of renovations are complete on our building in East Garfield Park. “The workforce development program will be able to grow and we’ll serve so many more youth," she explains. “There will be a whole team helping young people get to work.”