Community Partner Spotlights

Over the years Impact 100 has funded many transformational programs and initiatives. Explore the incredible work of our community partners.

Gifford Youth Achievement Center – YOUTH EMPLOYABILITY PROGRAM

One of the goals of the Gifford Youth Achievement Center’s Youth Employability Program (YEP) was to place 8th – 12th grade students in an 8-week paid summer job or internship at a worksite that can expose students to areas that reflect their career interests and high skill/high wage pathways. Summer job goals are established during the school year when students participate in work readiness, interview preparation, career exploration, worksite visits, financial literacy, and related activities after school.

YEP Prep Orientation

GYAC’s two-year plan for the YEP was to use the Impact 100 grant to fund the students’ summer wages. Once the YEP demonstrated its value to businesses and supporters, GYAC would look to employers to invest in the YEP students’ summer wages. The YEP participation goal for Summer 2022 was 10-15 students. For Summer 2023, we had 25 students. GYAC exceeded those goals for both summers, with 23 students in 2022 and 29 in 2023. Presently, there is a heightened level of excitement, because the projected number of students for Summer 2024 is 40-45 students!

The major uptick in the number of students enrolled is a testament to the YEP’s success and the students’ performance in 2022 and 2023. In addition, because of the YEP’s success, most employers who will be participating in Summer 2024 are committing to invest in the students’ summer wages. Some employers have already done so. One of those employers is Quail Valley, who hired three YEP students in Summer 2022 and one in 2023.

Agustin Deleon

Agustin DeLeon, an 11th grade student currently in his third year in the YEP, was interested in golf and being an entrepreneur when he first enrolled in the YEP in 2021-22. His initial work assignment was GYAC’s summer camp in Summer 2022 and he returned there for most of Summer 2023. Agustin performed multiple job tasks for the summer camp including facilities maintenance and golf program assistance. Near the end of Summer 2023, the YEP arranged a job interview for him with Quail Valley. Quail Valley hired Agustin to work at their golf club for the balance of Summer 2023 and retained him as a part-time employee for the weekends and some afternoons after school.

The YEP summer worksites are important employer and agency partners to the program. They provide students with an opportunity to earn wages for tasks and work that are needed but also space to demonstrate and develop excellent work readiness skills. While the students are restricted from performing professional level duties, due to age restrictions and company policies, most of the worksites match the industry in which the students have an interest. The students’ industries of interest have included: law, real estate, healthcare, journalism, child counseling, entrepreneurship, engineering, culinary, aviation, branding, design, and more.

The YEP students in Summer 2022 and 2023 have all excelled at their worksites. They have been the program’s biggest advertisers. New students in the 2023-24 program have said they heard about the program through students who have continued in the program from 2021-22 and 2022-23. Thanks to the Impact 100 grant, those students set the stage for the YEP to be a vessel of transformational change, both internally and externally. For students like Agustin who plan to remain at Quail Valley, at least through Spring 2025 when he graduates, that transformational change can be long-term too.

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