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Youth Job Center Announces Lucretzia Jamison as its next Executive Director

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Youth Job Center (YJC), a leading youth workforce agency in Cook County, Illinois, has selected Lucretzia Jamison as its next Executive Director. Assuming her new role in May 2022, Jamison will be responsible for providing overall executive leadership and management of YJC’s day-to-day activities and partnering with the Board to ensure ongoing strategic growth. Jamison will succeed Karen Tollenaar Demorest, who is departing in June after eight successful years leading the organization.

Jamison brings a 22-year career in nonprofits, government, and higher education. Her life’s passion has been centered on youth and young adults in workforce focused missions. Currently serving as the Dean of the Dawson Technical Institute (DTI), part of Kennedy King College, City Colleges of Chicago, Jamison is responsible for a team of over forty, a budget of $4.2M, and annually impacts over 1,000 students and residents. The programming of training, community education, and grant initiatives serves individuals in the Bronzeville, Englewood, Woodlawn, and surrounding communities. DTI is an academic center for Construction Technology and is nationally recognized for top quality job training location for the construction industry and its career development programs. An integral part of Jamison’s role at DTI is to ensure that students who have never been exposed to the Construction Industry, learn the industry, and gain skills in this steady, high-paying career field.

“We were seeking a strategic, visionary executive, and confident decision-maker to lead YJC through its next phase of growth and development. The Board of Directors unanimously selected Lucretzia after a rigorous vetting and decision-making process. She brought complementary experience to YJC’s past and will swiftly lead us forward in to the future and future opportunities to continue our impact for youth and young people,” said Board Search Committee Chair Doug Oettinger.

A Search Committee comprised of YJC Board Members, including Frank Adams (Crate and Barrel), Mary Dolan (Pro-Am Team Sports), Louis English (Robert W. Baird), Sergio Hernandez, Jr. (Illinois State Board of Education), Doug Oettinger (ZS Associates and Search Committee Chair), Jess Ticus (Consult HLT and YJC Board Chair), and Ericka Wrencher (Northwestern University) who shepherded the process since Fall of 2021. KEES worked with the Board and a 2012 Search Committee to hire Demorest. The search committee competitively selected KEES, again, as their partner in Fall 2021.

In previous positions, Jamison provided extensive managerial leadership and experienced success implementing and monitoring volunteer, academic, vocational, and employment programs. Prior to her role at DTI, Jamison served as the Executive Director (Chicago Campus) for the Center for Employment Training, an accredited Title IV institution for adult vocational and workforce training. Jamison additionally worked as the Director of Workforce Funding for the City of Chicago (DFSS), where she had hands on experience evaluating programs and distributing Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds to underserved communities and trained agencies to successfully comply with grant requirements. She began her career at Junior Achievement of Chicago, a youth organization that inspires and prepares young people to succeed. Alongside the noted professional accomplishments Lucrezia brings to the role, she is an active and involved member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., an avid traveler, and a superhero of a mother to her son, where she is often called to play superheroes and Space Jam.

Jamison said of her appointment to the position, “I am honored and humbled to have been selected as the next Executive Director of Youth Job Center. The mission of YJC resonates with my life-long passion for helping young people navigate their pathway in life. I look forward to working alongside the Board to ensure our youth can lead positive and self-fulfilling careers, with long-term outcomes that benefit both families and communities.”

“The entirety of Lucretzia’s professional experience has been in roles that help young people succeed. Her career is a true reflection of her dedication, determination, and commitment to helping youth and young adults find pathways to their future with equitable living wages,” said KEES President and CEO Heather Eddy. “We congratulate the entire YJC community and proud to be selected, again, as the search partner when Karen announced her transition plans.”

Youth Job Center Board Chair, Jessica (Jess) Ticus will guide the transition from Demorest to Jamison this summer. Ticus commented, “Lucretzia brings a great background in workforce development, strong financial management, fundraising experience, and a warm and inviting personality. The Board and staff are very excited to welcome her, and we look forward to bringing job skills and employment opportunities to young people throughout the Chicago area.”

Jamison holds a Master’s in Business Administration from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Applied Science from Northern Illinois University. Additionally, she has a Customer Experience Management certification from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management.


KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams and dynamic leaders in nonprofit and public sectors. A woman-owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services, including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. To learn more about KEES, visit


Youth Job Center (YJC) has been a leading provider of employment-related and career-building services for Evanston and Chicago youth experiencing barriers to successful job placement and rewarding careers for 39 years. YJC’s mission is, “Success for young people in the workplace and in life.” YJC envisions a future where all young people have the support to build a meaningful career and share widely their skills and potential. 

YJC programs serve youth and young adults beginning at age 14 and serving up to age 25. YJC works with young people to support them onto a path to a career. We begin by identifying individual needs and areas of interest, career planning, goal setting, barrier reduction and connection to training programs and employment that will lead to meaningful and living wage careers for our young people.

To learn more about Youth Job Center, please visit


Jamie Sheffler


Amanda Marks