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'YES Indy' program helps young Hoosiers find jobs

Program produces job hunt success stories
Posted at 11:37 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 07:29:03-05

INDIANAPOLIS — As thousands of Hoosiers look for work in a pandemic, the Youth Employment Services program better known as YES is helping Hoosiers 16 to 24-years-old find a job .

"You may not know where you want to go. But you know your passion, you know you want to do something different and then it's up to us to help you navigate your way," said Julie Barrett.

Barrett is the Workforce Development Manager at the Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corporation. Her job is to help people looking for work find a field they are interested in and then see what skills they need to land a job and turn it into a career. "That's our goal. Now, we're not miracle workers, but together we can etch out a pathway," Barrett said.

Maybe the staff at YES Indy aren't miracle workers, but 25-year-old Rico Smith says they are absolutely life changers. The father of two enrolled in the program a year and a half ago. While working at a warehouse, he was looking for a job in trucking. A job he always wanted to turn into a career.

"They put me towards a job lead with Kenworth Palmer Trucks and I did some training with them for maybe two months, and I've been working for them maybe a month now as a driver, a parts delivery driver," said Smith.

Through working with the YES program, which is part of the city's EmployIndy program, has been able to obtain four different forklift certifications, while working to climb the company ladder from trainee, to parts delivery driver and someday soon professional truck driver.

"A lot of people want to move forward but they don't know what step to take, or what to do first," said Smith.

Getting to that first step and beyond is the daily mission for Barrett, who believes helping guys like Rico creates more stories of success and less of tragedy. While she's ready to help anyone who needs it, Barrett says success through her comes with tough love.

"You can't bring me no bull! Don't do that. We are all about trying to make sure you are set up for success!" said Barrett.

The YES Indy program is specifically for Hoosiers who are 16 to 24-years-old and out of school. You can learn more about the YES Indy program by going to YesIndy