First Jobs Campaign inspires students

Nathan Shankar, News Writer

Everyone has to start somewhere.

That’s exactly what the First Jobs Campaign, launched by the Youth Jobs Center last month, is intended to show. The campaign collects stories about individuals’ first jobs and profiles successful professionals, including various Evanston and Chicago civic leaders.

Among the individuals who contributed their stories is ETHS principal Marcus Campbell. He began working at age ten, raking leaves.

“I want people to know where I started and and how important it is to find meaningful employment at whatever stage,” Campbell says.

A positive first job experience has been shown to lead to more money earned throughout one’s lifetime and a lower rate of unemployment. The Youth Jobs Center hopes that by sharing these stories, students will be inspired to pursue their dreams.

“It’s always inspiring to hear stories of people working their way up from the bottom, especially when so many of these people are important pillars of the Evanston community,” says Jane Bodmer, coordinator of the campaign.

Additionally, the First Jobs Campaign strives to connect youth with positive first work experiences that lead to sustainable futures.

“I hope it helps inspire young people working in their first or second jobs to realize that, while this may not be what they want to do forever, it’s a valuable first step that will lead to the next step, and the next, and the next,” Bodmer adds.

The campaign is available at