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The YMCA Alliance of Metropolitan Chicago prepares people for economic independence by providing educational, entrepreneurial and vocational training and support. It is a unit of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Its Board of Directors is composed of local individuals who represent the business community. Since 1975, the agency has provided employment and training services to a disadvantaged population through a combination of public and private funding.

The Alliance serves more than 1000 individuals annually with over 500 receiving extensive employment services. Most are economically disadvantaged individuals receiving some form of public assistance, many with major barriers to employment. Some lack a high school diploma or GED, others have disabilities, and most lack successful sustained employment histories.

The YMCA Alliance's main program emphases include:

Adult Education and Literacy
The YMCA Alliance provides adult basic education and GED preparation classes for those who lack the academic skills necessary to compete and succeed in the workforce.

Vocational Training
The YMCA Alliance offers basic, intermediate and advanced office skills training to help unemployed, underemployed and dislocated workers enter and advance in many career fields. In addition, our Customer Service and Employment Training Program provides customer service and cash register training for adults on Chicago's Westside who are looking for entry-level jobs in the retail, health, security, banking and other industries.

Entrepreneurship Development Program
Micro-enterprise is a viable anti-poverty and economic development strategy and is one way of successfully moving people from welfare to work. The YMCA Alliance's 18-hour classroom Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) provides business development training and assistance in obtaining business loans to low and moderate-income adults on Chicago's Westside. Since it was established in 1988, over 600 participants have enrolled in EDP, and more than 100 graduates have started their own businesses.

Adult Employment Training and Placement Assistance
Many older youth and adults don't know how or where to start to look for a job. We provide job readiness training and job search training, and we offer intensive and not-so-intensive placement assistance. Our partners are area businesses that recognize the value of our pre-screening, training and follow-up services.

Welfare-to-Work Services
The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 severely limited the amount of time a family could receive temporary cash assistance from the government. Our programs for those who receive cash assistance and/or food stamps offer short-term job training and employment assistance to families, primarily female-headed households with children, who are making the transition from welfare to the workforce.

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