Led by young adults, the YI Midwest office has been working since 2013 to expand economic opportunity for young adults ages 18-34 in Illinois. We have worked to elevate our peers’ voices in the political process, and have advocated for statewide systemic changes in higher education, workforce development, and health care.
Our accomplishments include providing thousands of young adults in the Chicagoland region with health insurance information, bringing hundreds of students to Springfield to speak to elected officials, and launching the StreetLight Chicago mobile phone app (available for iPhone and Android), which provides up-to-date information for homeless youth and service providers on critical services including health centers, emergency beds, and drop-in shelters.
The 2020 global pandemic has only exacerbated existing obstacles to prosperity, rendering our work even more relevant today. YI Midwest is leading campaigns to ensure all higher education students, regardless of their background, have access to college opportunities. We are pushing the state and institutions to make the necessary financial investments to meet students’ needs in and out of the classroom. Adequate and culturally competent mental health resources are critical for thousands of young adults, and we are working to secure them for every campus in the state. For young adults in the workforce, we are advocating for expanding job opportunities by strengthening worker protections, including for those entering apprenticeships and gig work. Our research projects yield data echoing what we hear from young adults, and we will continue to ambitiously push forward.
Read more about our policy goals in our 2021 Illinois Policy Agenda. Below you can also find our research, blogs, fact sheets, and more resources.
Connect with us! We need young adults at the table as decisions about our future are being made. Share your story, sign up to take action, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, or simply email us. Let’s get to work!
Lily Rocha, Midwest Regional Director