Howard to Isabella

“Employers Don’t Want Older Workers”

Beth says she was shocked the day she lost her job as a teacher at a North Shore private school. The job provided a respectable salary, health insurance and a pension.

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“Nothing Was Going to Fall in My Lap”

The Youth Job Center helped Folasade Ogunyemi turn her life around.

Lost wages. Poverty. A poor diet. A run-down apartment. A shabby wardrobe.

These are the “effects” of unemployment.

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From Jobless to Homeless

After what he called a “family dispute,” Girbraun Manzanet moved out of his mother’s home in Evanston when he was 16. At first he lived with friends. Then he found himself homeless.

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Made in Evanston – But Not by Evanstonians

Ward Manufacturing received $700,000 from the City of Evanston but employs no Evanstonians.

Many people know the Dempster/Dodge shopping center as a convenient place to pick up dry cleaning or grab a carton of milk. But they might not know that right around the corner they could also find a high-efficiency brushless alternator for a firetruck or a gallon or two of non-oil metal forming lubricant for industrial processes.

What they may not be able to find, however, is a job.

These products are made in the small manufacturing district that stretches from Greenleaf to Main Street west of Dodge. But while they are Evanston-made products, they are not necessarily made by Evanston residents.

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Voices on Video

Church Street

“Because of technology [companies] can get employees to work harder, more efficiently, and they don’t have to hire.”

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Main Street

“Part time would be ideal, because full time is just really intense... I’ve been out of a job for a year.”

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Howard Street

“My aunt’s got two masters degrees. Thankfully she’s working, but a couple of years ago she got laid off and was looking for a job for like three years.”

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Central Street

“I was planning on retiring when I was 65 and now I’m 68 and I’m still working.”

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About Howard to Isabella

One town, one topic, many voices: unemployment in Evanston

Howard to Isabella takes an in-depth look at today’s vital issues as experienced by the people of Evanston. Stories, pictures and videos are brought to you by community journalists Toni Gilpin, Ginny Holbert, Adam Finlayson, Nancy Traver and Michelle Kavoosi. The Evanston RoundTable featured a print edition of this issue, focused on unemployment in Evanston, in their November 8, 2012 edition. Learn more about our project »


Is Evanston Waffling on Job Creation?

Waffles are coming to Evanston – and with them, it is hoped, jobs for Evanston residents. Jobs (even more than waffles) are what many in this community crave.

Evanston’s unemployment rate is 6.4 percent. Just 15 percent of the jobs that exist here are held by residents, far fewer than was true a decade ago. The number of jobs in Evanston has increased, yet Evanstonians looking for work are apparently having a harder time finding it in their home town.

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Where the Jobs Were

Aerial view of the Clayton Mark complex, from the early 1900s.

Ask what jobs Evanston offers and people may suggest professors or nurses, baristas or realtors. Industrial workers aren’t likely to come to mind.

But Evanston’s largest employer for many years was a factory. The Clayton Mark Company, founded in 1888, sprawled over many acres around the Dempster-Dodge intersection. It was a full-scale, old-style industrial enterprise, with foundries and forges and assembly operations.

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Evanston By the Numbers

Unemployment. It’s always the bellwether of economic distress, across the country or within a community. As we claw our way back from our recent disastrous recession – when we lost 8.7 million jobs in just over two years, our most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression – national news coverage focuses on the big picture. But what’s the jobs situation in your household, or in your neighborhood? Have Evanston’s employment patterns reflected, or resisted, the changes wrought by the recession?

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Policy Initiatives and Local Efforts

Our Jobless Recovery

The Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, and economic expansion began. Yet, three years later, unemployment hovers at 7.9% nationally and 6.4% in Evanston.

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The Federal Stimulus at Work in Evanston

Since 2009, when Congress passed the $833 billion stimulus package, some $88.5 million has flowed into Evanston, funding everything from Head Start programs to scientific research.

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Evanston Activists: Taking on Unemployment

Our unemployment problem may sometimes seem insurmountable, but that’s not the attitude taken by some Evanston organizations.

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