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Starling Community Services.

YESS You Can!

YESS Classroom lutherwood blog post cover
YESS Room Square edit
Newly renovated YESS classroom

In March 2021, Service Canada funded the 3-year Getting Ahead in the Workplace Youth Employment Skills Strategy program, otherwise known as YESS! This unique program supports youth 15 to 30 years old that face high barriers who are looking for employment. This program uses a custom-tailored approach to addressing individual youth’s needs to help them be successful.

Let’s take a closer look!

At the beginning of the program, youth work alongside the Employment and Mental Wellness Advisor to address their individual needs and create a custom plan. For some youth, ensuring basic needs are met includes housing support, healthy food or transportation. These are aspects the Employment and Mental Wellness Advisor must work through.

The workshop component operates in a hybrid model over 6 weeks a timeframe. Enrolled youth and YESS workers meet virtually 2 days a week and the other 3 days are spent in the newly renovated YESS room at our Employment Office in Kitchener. In a laid-back and open concept room, you’ll find meeting tables, rocking chairs, couches, a kitchenette, and more. Enrolled youth use this room to meet with their employment workers, engage with their peers or use it for basic needs like making meals or sensory stimulation. All of this provides support to keep youth moving forward in their employment readiness pathway and finding employment at the end of the workshop series.

After the workshop component, the Employment Specialist will work with the youth to help them seek job opportunities for a 6-week paid placement with local employers. YESS staff provide ongoing support during this placement to help with the transition to work and job retention.

So, what makes this program so unique? It’s not a “one size fits all” program. Beyond finding employment at the end of the 6 weeks, the program provides tools, resources, and learning strategies that youth can take with them far after the program has ended. The program provides the tools youth need to find employment but also reduces those barriers and inspires hope for them to be successful.

For more resources on YESS please visit our website

"My first year, I didn't want to be here (and) did everything I could to try to get out. But eventually, I trusted these kind people with my life. I'm so glad I did because if I hadn't, I might have ended up in prison."