RiseKit and Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford launch ambitious partnership


The partnership will provide free, transformative job search opportunities for low-income families.


Chicago — RiseKit announced today a new partnership with Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford to provide career navigation support to parents, guardians, and caregivers of children enrolled in Easterseals’ Head Start/Early Head Start programs.


Head Start was introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson to interrupt the negative impact of poverty on educational outcomes and life trajectories. Head Start/Early Head Start provide comprehensive early learning and support to low-income families to ensure school readiness for children in high-needs contexts.


“Easterseals’ Head Start program provides children with foundational skills, focusing on social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development to help them thrive when they begin school,” noted Tracey Mikasa, Director of Easterseals’ Early Learning. “These services are comprehensive and targeted to each family’s needs. For instance, services may include evaluations and early intervention services for a child with developmental delays, assistance with housing or employment, identifying a medical or dental provider for the family, and/or nutrition and mental health consultation.”


Melissa Lovitt, RiseKit’s Career Navigator, stated that RiseKit will provide robust career navigation support to enhance and build upon the existing work of Easterseals’ Family Health Advocates, who provide extensive services for Head Start families.

Easterseals Headstart/Early Headstart family.

Easterseals Head Start/Early Head Start family. Photo courtesy of Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford.


“RiseKit is focused on key steps in enhancing skills and identifying pathways to long-term, meaningful employment with significant positive impacts on individual and family trajectories,” Lovitt said.


Any Easterseals’ Head Start parent, guardian, or caregiver who expresses interest in skill-development, job search, or even changing careers will be eligible to work with a career navigator from RiseKit using a sophisticated software program to help guide them through the process. This entails an assessment of each individual’s career goals and identification of barriers, and then, targeted assistance in skills such as resume building, job training, and providing connections to job opportunities with RiseKit partner organizations that match each individuals’ skills.


“Research demonstrates that employment has a positive economic, socioemotional, and educational influence on both the individual seeking employment as well as their extended family and dependents. So, while RiseKit will work most directly with a mom, dad, guardian, or caregiver, there is evidence that the entire extended family will benefit,” Lovitt said. "RiseKit will focus on career coaching using a holistic, trauma-informed, strengths-based approach when working with Easterseals clients. Recognizing the importance of meeting folks where they're at is key and is a determining factor in terms of candidates achieving upskilling and/or employment success.”


Easterseals leaders were similarly excited by the opportunities that the RiseKit partnership will provide for Head Start families. “We look forward to Easterseals’ Head Start families having the opportunity for intensive and individualized career coaching and navigation support that can have a significant influence on the family’s economic stability and overall well-being,” said Easterseals Vice President of Programs Leslie Horwitz. “RiseKit and Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford are aligned in our missions to transform the life trajectories of the clients we serve.”


About RiseKit

RiseKit is a venture-backed, Chicago-based SaaS company reimagining workforce development through technology. Through its community platform, RiseKit is powering economic mobility programs and ecosystems to increase impact in communities across the country. To learn more, visit RiseKit at www.risekit.co.


About Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford

Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford makes profound, positive differences in the everyday lives of early learners and youth of all abilities through access to expert educational and family support services. The agency is $70M operating with nearly 700 employees and has two Pillars of work: Disability Services and Early Learning Services. Collectively these Pillars include more than a dozen programs that serve more than 20,000 individuals in the Chicagoland and Greater Rockford areas. Head Start/Early Head Start is the anchor program in the Easterseals Early Learning Services Pillar, serving nearly 2,000 families in the City of Chicago and Suburban Cook County. To learn more, visit https://www.easterseals.com/chicago/.