Work Study Program

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The combination of unpreparedness and lack of opportunity for youth who are disconnected from education and employment creates large barriers to success for students who are underserved in our community.

To address these barriers, LYDIA offers a career component called Work Study. Work Study is the real-world experience where students can understand the relationship between high school and adulthood and make connections to their future career. The program teaches the necessary life and job skills that will lead to prolonged successful employment along with thinking about their lives as adults.

As part of our academics, each student will have one semester of our Work Readiness course (curriculum and on-site job shadowing) and following successful completion of the course and job interview, students will be connected to a work experience. Each student works 4 hours each week under a supervisor with direct help from their career counselor. The academy’s Career Counselor/Job Coach monitors student’s work performance and is the liaison between the school, student, and job site supervisor. She is the student’s HR counselor.

I would highly recommend employers utilize Lydia Urban Academy’s Work Study Program. The students we have worked with have been hard working, curious young adults, eager to prove themselves in the office and learn more about the world of work. The program gave us the opportunity to hire talented young adults while knowing we were contributing to their education. In addition, the staff at Lydia is excellent and responsive and made the process very easy for us. – Goodwill of Northern Illinois


I highly recommend Lydia as an outstanding school for students who are forced to seek an alternative education. Lydia, under the sacrificial and creative leadership of Lynne Strathman, is an outstanding high school for students who have made poor choices in public education and are seeking a ‘lifeline’ to prepare them for their future as responsible citizens. I have worked with Lydia for over six years as a motivation speaker, a mentor, commencement speaker, and advocate. I deeply admire the excellent way that the faculty transform students to see their potential and dreams! If you need a loving place to learn and grow, Lydia is the place for you! – Rv. Dr. Kenneth R. Board, Pilgrim Baptist Church


  • Area Erectors
  • Blue Sky Insurance
  • Burpee Museum
  • Lifescape Community Services-Brightside Adult Day Care Center
  • Goodwill of Northern Illinois
  • High Maintenance Salon
  • Komax Systems
  • Little Ceasars
  • L J Fabricators
  • MAYA’s House
  • Menards
  • Mother House Crisis Nursery
  • Noah’s Ark
  • Pilgrim Baptist Church
  • Red Lobster
  • Restoration Café
  • Rock River Environmental Services
  • Rockford Day Nursery
  • Rockford Housing Authority
  • Rockford Ice Hogs
  • Rockford Rescue Mission- Mission Mart
  • Rockford Specialties
  • Salvation Army
  • Schlueter/Ecklund Attorneys
  • United Way of Rock River Valley
  • Williams Manny
  • YWCA

Download the Work Study MOU

Join the Work Study Program