SJP 2016-2017 – Internship Registration

September 30, 2017 - 12 am


Center for Economic Progress (*Suburban,  car strongly suggested)


567 W Lake St, Suite 1150 Chicago, IL 60661


  • Waukegan
  • Elgin
  • Aurora
  • West Chicago
  • Joliet
  • Chicago Heights

Once you have your initial meeting with site, you can select which location you would like to work at.


Joy Rosenberg





The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) helps low-income, working families as a trusted provider of tax and financial services. Everything we do, from direct service to informing public policy, improves the financial stability of those we serve.

PRIMARY CAUSE AREA(S) OF PROJECT:  Economic/Occupational Justice, Community Development


“The work of building a just and equitable society begins, and always has begun, at the community level. Center for Economic Progress (CEP) was founded in 1990 on the idea that “neighbors helping neighbors” is the most effective and authentic way to advance economic justice at the community level. Since then, CEP has grown to 15 community tax sites and has become the largest provider of free tax preparation and financial services for low income and working class families in Illinois, saving residents millions in tax preparation fees, and offering financial, savings and credit coaching services. In the 2017 tax season, CEP mobilized 863 VITA-certified volunteers from 15 communities across Illinois to give 28,000 hours of service, serve 18,000 families and individuals, and put $30 million dollars into the pockets and savings accounts of hard working people who need it most.

Unfortunately, even the most well intentioned nonprofit groups and academics will expend tremendous energy in developing solutions for communities without fully understanding the people, culture, institutions, challenges or unique assets each community possesses. As any community organizer will tell you, solutions to social problems that are not developed in direct collaboration with community members and institutions will often fail to produce the long-term change needed to address these problems fully. CEP is not immune to this pitfall of social justice work. Without consistent, meaningful community engagement outside of the tax season, we cannot support communities and those that call them home in the unique ways those communities require. The Community Engagement Intern role at CEP is designed to strengthen connections by working intimately with communities themselves to identify and shape real solutions that work for working families.

Center for Economic Progress firmly believes that all clients, and by extension, all communities, are creative resourceful and whole; people are the experts of their own lives and their own communities, and with the right training, knowledge, resources and leveraging of extant community assets, people and communities are fully capable of solving the challenges they face in a creative and authentic way.The Community Engagement Intern is the individual that will work in the field in a selected community to identify the challenges and assets of a community, strengthen existing partnerships and build new ones, and engage with residents, clients and volunteers from that community to ensure that the actions that CEP takes to support communities are always informed and shaped by the people, groups and organizations from those communities.



1) What clear, meaningful learning opportunities will be provided for the intern(s) to gain knowledge and perspectives about their own social identities as well as those from diverse populations?

“As CEP interns, participants will have the opportunity to learn about:

*Mobilizing volunteers from the community to provide valuable services to fellow residents

*Creating strong ties to a community by engaging directly with a tapestry of residents, neighborhood associations, block clubs, nonprofit groups, resource organizations, institutions, and coalitions.

*The role of nonprofits and service organizations in achieving social change

*Developing partnerships between organizations with shared goals to identify areas where collaboration can create meaningful change

*Delivering consultative direct service to community members by working with clients, offering conversations and coaching around savings, credit and referrals for other CEP programs and services”


2) How will your project help interns learn the systemic and structural needs of the marginalized communities and populations that your organization targets?

“*Interns will learn about the services, tax credits, economic policies and financial education that can help or hinder communities in achieving prosperity

*Interns will understand how solutions to address systemic problems are shaped and developed by institutional community stakeholders like nonprofit coalitions, community groups, local government, business associations, and how institutional stakeholders can advance or even stymie systemic progress

*Interns will learn about the role of personal financial education and empowerment in eliminating intergenerational poverty

*Interns will observe directly that systemic change begins at the community level and that top-down solutions to social challenges that are not shaped by communities will often create unintended consequences and fail to produce the progress that is needed

*Interns will understand the importance of savings in long-term economic stability, particularly for low income and working class residents, and how even modest sums that are earmarked for savings can mitigate the impact of the unforeseen circumstances (illness, car repair, loss of job, unexpected bills, fines or fees) that can drive a person into poverty”


3) What skills/tools will the intern(s) gain that will help them learn and practice working with diverse communities to change systemic and structural inequities? This can include civic/political exposure and engagement.

“*Identify the socioeconomic challenges that a Chicago community faces and gain a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of those challenges through engaging with the residents, neighborhood associations, block clubs, nonprofit groups, resource organizations, institutions, and coalitions.

*Look beyond those challenges to identify the strengths, resources, and assets that a community possesses through the lens of asset based community development

*Maintain critical relationships with key individuals, groups, and organizations, keeping CEP closely tied with what is happening in that community

*Work effectively as a coalition member and identify areas for collaboration between coalition member organizations with shared goals and interests

*Enhance trust and legitimacy of a service organization within a community by effectively communicating what they have learned about a community and how that organization can more effectively serve it and its people

*Demographic/Community Research

*Managing Professional Relationships

*Testimonial Collection

*Community Relations

*Volunteer Engagement”


4) What consistent duties and/or tasks are associated with the project?

“Interns will work directly within a selected community to maintain a high level of engagement and strengthen ties between CEP and the community it serves by:

*Directly engaging residents of a selected Chicago community by attending community meetings, social gatherings and institutions to understand what makes that community unique

*Working within various coalitions of community groups and organizations to assess both the unique needs and assets of the selected community and participate in developing solutions to the challenges faced by the community

*Using the principles of asset based community development to fully leverage existing assets and help CEP provide better, more efficient service to residents based on the unique characteristics of that community

*Identifying and engaging residents and groups in mobilizing new volunteers to deliver tax and financial services to low income, working class residents

*Conducting demographic, historical and social research on the selected community through general research and interviews to fully understand the attitudes and culture of a specific community

*Analyzing feedback and lessons learned through their community engagement, effectively communicate their findings with CEP and use those findings to help CEP craft solutions and ways to improve service delivery based on the unique strengths, needs and aspirations of that community

*Holding coaching conversations with tax site clients about savings, credit and other CEP programs”


5) Finally, please describe how the results of their project(s) will help the intern(s) understand the impact of their work within the community/population.

The success of Interns will be measured through key metrics, including, but not limited to: number of new community partnerships, number of newly mobilized volunteers, and other indicators. Furthermore, interns will be measured by their ability to increase the number of tax clients and improve the Client Satisfaction Index Score for their assigned community/tax site.


Oral History with E.D.,Neighborhood Tour

Field-based Projects,Direct Service Delivery,Program Delivery,Community Group


Financial Literacy,Program Design,Program Execution,Program Evaluation,Civic Engagement,Community Outreach,Needs Assessment,Resource Development,Partnership Development,Networking


Review of Legislature,Review of Public Policy,Testimonials,Community Interviews


Initial Meeting,Resume/CV

Often Suburban*

CTA Blue Line,CTA Red Line,CTA Brown Line,CTA Green Line,CTA Orange Line,CTA Pink Line,CTA Bus,Metra Train,Paid Lot/Street Parking



Tuesday 8am-5pm,Wednesday 8am-5pm,Thursday 8am-5pm,Specific Time if different from above

Please enter specific days and times if different from days and times listed above:

Some community events/meetings will take place outside of normal business hours; evening/weekend shifts will be required and hours will be “flexed” that week.

Bookings no longer allowed on this date.