YES! program provides career opportunities

Savannah Anderson, Editor-In-Chief

Students everywhere worry about what they are going to do after high school. 

Should they take the college path or kickstart their careers?

Thanks to the Youth Employment Solutions (YES!) program, several GRC students are set for their futures and have the opportunity to do both.

YES! is a program started by Adecco in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education and Clark County Schools that provides skill-oriented jobs to students through co-op.

“Our role is to help businesses create high school co-ops and apprenticeships,” said program manager Barrett Bridgewater. “We help the business evaluate and implement different training models, we help them overcome their barriers to hiring youth, and we take on payrolling for students ages 16 and older.”

Through the program, GRC currently has seven students working at three different companies:
Catalent, Sekisui, and Winchester Municipal Utilities. 

As a result of these co-ops, participating students have the potential to be offered full-time jobs at the companies after graduation and receive tuition-reimbursement if they desire to attend college as well.

Students are able to get involved with the program through their Career Pathways.

“Businesses create partnerships with Career Pathways that directly align with the jobs/occupations in demand for their companies,” said Bridgewater. “Teachers then introduce the opportunities to those students who are
eligible for co-op and then refer students to the companies.”

The benefits that these co-ops provide go beyond the opportunity to earn money, as students learn many essential skills through the jobs.

“Students are learning essential skills on the job that are important to employers,” said Bridgewater. “These skills are nearly impossible to learn in a classroom (work ethic, professionalism, reliability, teamwork, leadership, adaptability, resiliency, discipline, communication, cultural fluency, and more).  They are also learning technical skills unique to the jobs and positions they are in.” 

Preston Hahn, who works at WMU, recommends the program because younger generations don’t seem to have the desire to “take up the torch” of important jobs like the ones featured in the program, which show younger people “that they can open up their career options.” 

“It gives young folks an opportunity to gain work experience in a field that isn’t useless and helps them better themselves for their life ahead of them,” said Hahn. 

Sarah Kubican, who works at Catalent, believes that the program is beneficial because it allows students to “experience a work environment with actual professionals.”

“Instead of paying for loans to go to college, to earn a degree, to hopefully get a job, just to pay the student loans… this is an opportunity to start working now and let the company pay for your education to directly advance your career,” said Bridgewater.

YES! truly allows students to worry less about their post-high school plans.