Challenges and changes
A message from the Chair
Youth Employment Services YES is one of our countries strongest advocates for young adults in the employment arena. Our President, Nancy Schaefer, is recognized in the business community as the subject matter expert and is interviewed and quoted frequently!
Our President, Nancy, the YES Senior Management Team, the YES Staff and the wonderful Volunteers devote their time and energy to empowering young adults to find jobs and start businesses. The market is improving, however, our young adults in Canada are experiencing an unemployment rate of 16%, well above the national average. Our team works especially hard during these times to give the client groups the attention and service level they so deserve. We make a difference!
I have so enjoyed serving at YES as Board Chair. In this last year the Board Directors have worked with Management to initiate the process to develop the strategic direction of YES; we have supported our President during this time of change; through our Governance and Audit Committees, we have identified and mitigated risk on behalf of YES, and we have ensured fiscal sustainability of the organization.
We are very proud to serve on the YES Board! And we look forward to working with David Yu who is the new Board Chair. David will steer the Board and the organization with great leadership and vision.
A message from the President
Last year brought substantial challenges and changes to YES.
Before we begin reporting on those challenges you can see what a huge change weve made to our Annual Report. There is no longer a print version. Weve fully launched into electronic media. In this way we reduce the amount of resources used in print media and we believe it is the best use of time and technology. We hope you enjoy the experience of viewing and reading our 2010 Annual Report.
Last year we helped an unprecedented number of young people to get jobs, start a business, return to school and to feel empowered by their successes. There were over 10,000 clients in all our programs with 80% success.
We are proud of the young people who havent given up hope in this sluggish economy and who make the effort to attend our programs and do the work of job search. Were also proud of the hard work of our staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to find jobs in this slow-moving economy.
Because the recession took a heavy toll on employment YES was sought out by all major media to advance the discussion on youth unemployment and to pass along tips and best practices for those looking and finding work. YES appeared 13 times on major Canadian TV, radio and print media in 2009/10. We have been active in getting our message out… check out our press archive and see YES in the Media.
We created the Youth Empowerment Advisory Panel, YEAP, a group of diverse youth and young clients who advise us on programs and youth issues. By launching into social media with Facebook and Twitter last year, as a new and strong driver of service, all the help and connection we can get from youth is a good thing.
Our 6th successful ArtWork Gala fundraising event for youth was also a highlight of last year, enabling artists, volunteers, and donors to raise money to help those most deeply affected by our nations youth employment crisis.
More good news came when the Provincial government announced that YES was selected to deliver their new flagship program in 2010 called Employment Service. This announcement was received with appreciation and satisfaction but it also ushered in a new reality.
Although YES was selected to deliver a new program for the provincial government it came along with cutbacks to some of our historical and effective programs. Starting April 1, 2010 two of our five sites in Toronto had to be closed, four programs cancelled. These four cancelled programs provided funding to help 5,980 individuals; the new program is for 1,885 individuals.
Thats a cut of 68% in individual clients and half a million dollars has been deleted from our budget.
The severe impact of these cuts will be felt most strongly by disadvantaged and at-risk youth. The Job Camp program serving this group was one of the four cancelled programs. This 5-week comprehensive job search and job placement program was an efficient and safe harbour for the marginalized youth of Toronto during tumultuous times.
These cutbacks had nothing to do with the success and effectiveness of YES programs. We believe that the cutbacks followed the economic restraint due to big government spending on the recession, the G20 summit and other priorities.
All the more perplexing is why the provincial government would make these cuts when the unemployment rate for youth is double that of adults. YES makes youth taxpayers not tax drainers.
Under the leadership of our Board of Directors, senior management and the outstanding work of our staff, YES remains strong and committed to our Mission. First, we have to swallow and digest the reality of cutbacks. We have downsized and reorganized our staff, closed offices, cancelled programs and put cost cutting measures in place.
Throughout this challenging work our doors have remained wide open to youth. We continue to work with our government partners in a positive relationship.
Second, we are strengthening our fundraising efforts with the private sector. The Rotary Club of Toronto, founders of YES in 1968, has been the first to step up to the plate to provide funds to continue a scaled-down Job Camp program. Since the provincial government cancelled funding for Job Camp we are proud that our private sector supporters understand the need for these intensive interventions to help youth.
Third, we shall strategically plan to strengthen and expand our core business. There is never a good time to ignore the needs of young people, especially now. Without programs and services that get youth jobs and off the streets what will become of them? The future of our country depends on their well-being and productivity. They are our children and our future.
We thank our capable volunteers on the Board of Directors. These outstanding and highly qualified individuals bring their enthusiasm and skills to strengthen YES. We thank Joan Prior and Alon Ozery who resigned from the board this year. Their contributions to YES will not be forgotten. We welcomed Jim Hunter and Lincoln Caylor to the YES board team.
David Yu takes over the Chairs position from Beth Oakes. We are confident that Davids leadership will continue to steer YES in the best direction and carry on the outstanding work and commitment from Beth.
We also thank our staff. Without the dedication and experience of our staff YES would not succeed.
We hope you enjoy this new approach to our Annual Report.