Do you want to learn new skills to improve your employment opportunities and expand your income earning potential? YW Strive offers hands-on classes and assignments that will help you develop and practice your skills in a collaborative, supportive environment.

With Strive, you’ll take the skills you learn in class and work one-on-one with a career coach to define your career path, identify solutions to any barriers, and receive individualized feedback and support on your progress and skills development.

Read below to learn more about our programs:

Essential Skills

Define your career goals and gain the confidence to seek higher-paying jobs or negotiate higher wages with YWCA Strive, a free professional development program for individuals who struggle to secure or retain living-wage employment.

With Strive Essential Skills, you’ll learn and practice skills desired by local employers and that you need to define and succeed on your career path.

Topics include:

  • Digital Skills for the Workplace
  • Essential Skills (aka Soft Skills)
  • Financial Independence
  • Critical Thinking
  • Personal Empowerment
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Career Coaching
  • Presentation Skills
  • Opportunities for Education and Career Advancement

In-person and Remote options may be available depending on start dates. A new class will begin every 10 weeks.

Future Start dates are being planned, so visit often for updates.

Planned 2022 Start Dates

  • Week of April 11, 2022
  • Week of July 11, 2022
  • Week of October 10, 2022

Apply for Essential Skills

Entrepreneurship Skills

Looking to start your own business or strengthen one you’re running now? 

With Strive Entrepreneurship Skills, you’ll get information and support from local experts needed to effectively create essential structures for your business to help you succeed, like a sales and marketing plan, defining your operations procedures, and understanding financing options.

Participants will review content and complete related assignments through Google Classroom on their own. We’ll then meet as a group once each week to share with one another and hear from guest speakers. 

Topics Include: 

  • How to start a business in Illinois
  • Financing your business
  • Marketing, including digital marketing
  • Effective networking
  • Increasing sales
  • Presenting a business plan
  • And many more

In-person and Remote options may be available depending on start dates.

Planned 2022 Start Dates

  • Week of April 11, 2022
  • Week of July 11, 2022
  • Week of October 10, 2022

Apply for Entrepreneurship Skills

Digital Skills

Our digital skills program is designed to assist beginning tech users with the basic steps needed to get comfortable using digital devices and tools. In this hands-on class, facilitators will guide you through each lesson at a challenging but realistic pace for you to gain confidence in navigating personal and workplace technology. If you struggle with fundamental technologies and computer applications, then this class is for you!

Topics include:

  • Start up and shut down protocols
  • Accessing the internet
  • Using Gmail and Google Calendar
  • Managing your files
  • Using Google Drive apps
  • And much more

Many of the above apps are being used by employers daily. Knowing how to create with them could be the only thing holding you back from a new or higher paying position! Contact YW Strive today.

Apply for Digital Skills

Requirements for Strive Essential Skills and Entrepreneurship Skills

  • Must be 18+ years old
  • Must have basic English literacy and math skills
  • Must show desire and ability to complete the full program

Preferred enrollment opportunities for women, people of color, those who have not completed a bachelor’s degree, and those who receive a referral through a partner agency.

For questions, please contact us at


Local Employer or Agency Partnerships

Are you a local employer or nonprofit agency and want to partner with YW Strive? Contact us at (309) 319-4318 or for more information.

YW Strive is committed to promoting equity and providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community, including clients, staff, volunteers, community partners, and vendors. We are committed to helping individuals of all races, ethnicities, national origins, genders, sexual orientations, incarceration backgrounds, religions, ages, abilities, and other diversities succeed through our programming and services. We are committed to promoting equity throughout our operations, including the provision of services, staffing decisions, and selection of volunteers and vendors.