Central States SER


  • What sets the organization apart:

    SER believes in the core values of respect, integrity, competency and innovation. SER is deeply ingrained in the communities it serves and believes in being part of the solution to the on-going challenges of economic and educational disparity facing families today. SER makes it a priority to meet the needs of the community by staying abreast of community and employment demands and changes in the population and in the local and broader economy.

  • Mission Statement

    SER’s mission is to promote economic self-sufficiency and upward mobility for community residents through education and employment.

  • Execution summary of the impact of the organization’s work in 2019

    SER is proud to serve individuals seeking alternative education and employment opportunities in a holistic and comprehensive manner. Partners and community resources are aligned to support the difficult and complex work of engagement and support of high-risk youth and adults needing a high school diploma or GED, industry-valued credentials, foundational skills and more intense trainings related to specific industry sectors. With partners, SER actively pursues input from multiple levels of governmental and non-governmental partners to forge programs, services, and partnerships to maximize outcomes. Partners and collaborators have added tremendous value to the success of the participants, sustained employment and readiness for long-term success, including assistance with legal matters, housing, childcare, transportation, drug counseling and mental health. Our collective impact framework is based on five key elements: 1. SER and partners have a common outcomes goal; 2. The decision-making process should be date driven; 3. Work collaboratively to leverage resources and reinforce governance structure; 4. Engage in continuous improvement efforts and share best practices; 5. Ensure professional development is relevant and applicable for the improvement of staff members and industry standards. SER has been developing a practice framework and trauma-informed care approach targeting at risk youth and adults and providing them with wrap-around services and supports in areas of education and workforce development opportunities for more than 30 years. Our collective impact can be seen in thousands of disadvantaged and disengaged customers, many of whom had lived in extreme poverty, receiving education and training critical to their economic self-sufficiency and upward mobility. ​

  • Established/Founding Date

    September 9, 1987

  • Organization’s History

    Central States SER, Jobs for Progress Inc., (SER) is a vibrant non-profit organization dedicated to designing and delivering services to improve the quality of people’s lives and advance economic stability and growth among youth, adults and businesses in communities across Illinois. Established in 1987, SER has enhanced the lives of over 12,000 people annually who walk through the doors of SER seeking assistance through education, training and employment. SER is part of the Unified SER Family, a multi-state organization led by parent organization SER Metro Detroit, with sites in Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania. This collective of organizations is ably led by a dynamic group of leaders, whose CEO & President,Eva Garza Dewaelsche, was recognized as a Champion of Change by President Obama for her leadership and the impact of the work done accomplished by the collective sites of the Unified SER Family.

  • CEO/Executive Director

    Javier Garibay

  • Size of Organization’s Staff


  • Diversity of Staff

    More than 50%

  • Current Operating Budget


  • Education Level of Primary Target Population

    No HS Diploma, High School Diploma/GED, Some College, No Degree, College Grad


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