Recognizing the need for a youth summer employment program, Champaign Unit 4 Schools and the City of Champaign worked in partnership to design a program to be implemented June 2011 utilizing one-time funding from the Urban Renewal Fund. Champaign Unit 4 Schools designed a job placement program which connected 161 students with 69 employers the first year. Of that number, 146 completed the entire program.
The team assessed program results at the close of that summer and returned with a new proposal for the next year. Their commitment to transparency and detailed reporting won them a renewed investment from both the city and the school district. In their second year, they connected with fewer students but had a higher completion rate. The program continued to grow and improve each summer. In 2015, they served 179 students and had 100% of them complete the program.
As the number of students and employers increased, it became clear that the program needed a full-time supervisor to oversee the operations. In 2015, the team won approval to create this position in time for 2016's program.