Central Susquehanna IU 16: Helping disengaged young adults say YES to the Future

Teens and young adults who disengage from school and work often start down the road to failure, but YES to the Future offers customized help on the path to productivity.

Offered by Central Susquehanna IU 16, Yes to the Future boasts of many success stories:

*  The young man who found a good fit with a restoration company but didn’t have all the skills needed. Through Yes to the Future, the employer could still do the hire, reimbursed half the wages while providing on-the-job training for up to six months.

*  The 22-year-old man who discovered his natural leadership skills during a YES community service project painting a local community center. Now, he’s employed with a company that services copy machines.

*  The young woman who discovered an interest in mortuary science and, through Yes to the Future, was connected with a Registered Nurse and Licensed Funeral Director mentor who met with her to talk about training and work opportunities.

YES to the Future is an employability program for out-of-school youth ages 16 to 24. Through funding from a federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grant, administered by the local Workforce Development Board, CSIU tears down barriers to employment and builds up skills in their place.

Serving nine, largely rural central Pennsylvania counties, the intensive program targets services to individual needs. Based on their interests and capabilities, each participant might explore careers and training programs, earn a GED, gain job skills through paid or volunteer work, connect with a mentor, learn money management, or explore entrepreneurism.   

YES to the Future leverages resources of the  Pennsylvania CareerLink, community partners and other CSIU initiatives, including its highly regarded WATCH Project that assists eligible individuals pursue healthcare careers.. YES community partners include county children and youth office,, military recruiters, and employers with jobs to fill.  

Instead of hopping among low-skilled, low-promise jobs, participants learn about high priority occupations, local employment opportunities available to  climb career ladders that provide family-sustaining wages. YES career counselors help participants identify their interests, abilities, and values so they can make informed decisions about employment and training. Career Counselors then guide participants to careers that match their results. Participants review labor market information, including job openings, qualifications, pay and benefits, and job growth. When the participant has decided on an occupation, a career counselor helps with developing a personal career plan.

Put the pieces together, and YES to the future is “about career pathways,” said CSIU Chief Academic Officer Dr. John Kurelja.

“The real story is how we have a comprehensive way of targeting and identifying young adults in this community,” said Kurelja. “We have the ability to turn these lives around.”

See all IU Spotlight Articles