Youth Employment Services (YES)

Connecting Champaign's youth to meaningful employment.

YES creates relationships between students and local employers, helping to build bridges to meaningful employment and bright futures.

Be A YES Employer Be a YES Student


YES Students

What is YES?

YES stands for Youth Employment Services. We work with Champaign Unit 4 high school students, connecting them to work experience in a job field that matches their skills and interests. Our mission is to build bridges to meaningful employment for Champaign's youth.

The YES Vision

  • Connect

    • We connect with our students and work with them to ensure they develop the tools and strategies necessary to reach their ideal futures.

    • We connect with our employers to build strong relationships that respect their corporate and individual identities while equipping them to foster growth in our students.

    • We connect with our community to increase the positive efforts of this program as we work to improve our shared future.

  • Collaborate

    • We pull together the work of students, business leaders, community members, educators, parents and program staff as we work to find our best path to the future as a community.

  • Contribute

    • We require all those involved to recognize the importance of individual contribution to the program. We value contributions of time, energy, commitment, and services. We're okay with the financial kind, too.

Program Components

Career Guidance

YES students receive career guidance specific to their needs, interests and goals. The aim is to ensure our students can say "YES" to their ideal futures by building bridges with them at this critical time in their lives.

We have several key initiatives for providing guidance to our students:

  • Short and Long-Term Goals Worksheet - YES students will complete a goals worksheet upon acceptance to the program. They will have one-on-one support while completing their vision, and program staff will conduct check-ins throughout the students' high school years to track progress and offer continuous support as needed.

  • Resume and Cover Letter Clinics - All YES students will learn how to build and update their own resumes. Students in the Tier Names tier will also have training on crafting a cover letter to best prepare them for the job market.

  • Interviewing and Networking Clinics - The program will host clinics to prepare YES students for interviewing and networking, and will put the training into practice at the Spring Career Fair.

  • Skills and Personality Assessments - All YES students will take assessments to gauge their best matches in job fields and personality types. This information will help program staff effectively place them in summer positions that fit their interests, skills, and career goals.

3-Tiered Model

YES students will be assigned to a tier level upon acceptance to the program. Tiers reflect a number of criteria including age, previous work history, and specific skill sets. Each participant will also complete an entry assessment to gauge their comprehension and practical application abilities in soft skills such as time management, communication, and problem solving/critical thinking.

The tiers are:

  • Explorers - This is our entry-level tier, ideal for students who don't have any work experience yet. They are the students who will benefit from more guidance and supervision as they embark on their exploration of what career path they want to pursue.
  • Navigators - This our mid-level tier, ideal for students who have held at least on job and have a sense of what type of career they want to work toward. Interns will have moderate supervision and guidance depending on their goals and needs.
  • Leaders - This is our advanced tier, ideal for students who are preparing to leave high school and move on to college and/or the workforce. These students will recieve more focused to guidance and minimal supervision.

Improved Staff Training

We hire Worksite Coordinators each year to assist with the summer employment element of our program. YES Coordinators will receive in-depth training in the areas of mentoring and supervision. Each YES Coordinator will receive a group of students to work with between May-July. Specific areas of training include:

  • Mentoring
  • Site Visits
  • Conflict Management
  • Career Guidance
  • Administration

Year-Long Initiatives

While the main focus will still be around our summer employment initiative, the program will now be working with students all year long. We are also looking for connections to employer sites that are able to hire students directly during the school year.

Our main goal will be to strengthen our student relationships, providing support throughout their high school careers and ensuring they are well-equipped to move on to college and/or the workforce.

Applications will open again Fall 2021!

Sign up for our newsletter

Stay connected to YES by subscribing to our monthly newsletter, The Road Map. Add your name to the email list.

Read the issues from our Summer 2019 program:

July 22, 2019

July 15, 2019

July 1, 2019

June 24, 2019

We're working on adding past issues to this website. For now, you can find past issues on Facebook (@YESChampaign)

Thank you to our partners!

These partners help make our program possible.

Champaign Unit 4 School DistrictExternal link to City of ChampaignExternal link to City of Champaign TownshipExternal link to Champaign Community Coalition

YES Supporters

Special thank you to YES Supporters:

YES Partner:
Champaign Unit 4
City of Champaign

YES Sponsor:
City of Champaign Township
Champaign County Chamber of Commerce
Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club
Housing Authority of Champaign County
Champaign County Chamber of Commerce

YES Student Sponsor:
Busey Bank
Illinois American Water
Thank you to our Direct Hire Partners:
University of Illinois Staff Human Resources
Champaign Park District

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