About YES

Our Mission and History

The mission of Youth Employment Service of the Harbor Area (YES) is to teach youth and young adults ages 16-24 the skills needed to secure and maintain meaningful employment, and to offer programs that help young adults improve their employability, career choices and quality of life.

Helping youth find and keep a job is what YES is all about. YES is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that envisions a community in which youth and young adults achieve economic independence, obtain personal self-sufficiency and lead fulfilling lives.

Founded in 1970, YES was initiated by community leaders who believed that early employment is critical to the positive development of young adults. As visionaries, their observations were made before the idea of formal work-related programming for teens became widespread. That initial vision is now supported by extensive research on youth development and employment. For over 45 years, YES has served as a bridge between young adults seeking employment and the business community seeking capable and enthusiastic young employees. We provide our comprehensive employment services out of our site in Costa Mesa–which we own and where we have been located for 20 years–and reach additional youth through presentations at high schools and youth-serving organizations throughout Orange County.

What We’re About

We’re about Jose Torres, 18, of Santa Ana, who wasn’t enthused about joining the workforce until he found YES. Following graduation, YES connected him with Ultra Mobile where he was hired on the spot with help from his video interview. Just three weeks later, his responsibilities were expanded and he plans to enroll at Santa Ana College.   “I love this job,” he says. “It wouldn’t have happened without YES.”

We’re about Lauren, a YES graduate who is currently majoring in theater and film at UCLA. Shortly after completing her YES experience, she was hired at Aaron Brothers where she was promoted and stayed four and a half years before pursuing her college degree. “YES helped me overcome anxiety and taught me to be the most prepared job applicant possible,” she said, adding that she also learned accountability. “Excuses don’t get you anywhere.”

And, we’re about the employers who discover the quality of our graduates, like Tina Nunes, manager of Mother’s Market in Costa Mesa, Calif., who says: “YES grads come to us ready to take on the world. The training sets them apart from other candidates. That are well-spoken and understand the importance of customer service. I have no doubt that I will see…YES grads do amazing things in their futures.”

Our Stellar Track Record

Since we were founded in 1970, YES has served more than 50,000 local youth by providing structured pre-employment skills training, individualized job and life skills counseling, job referrals, mentoring, follow-up services and more.

We also help young adults with training programs to include financial education – learning how to manage their income, open a bank account, adhere to a budget and earn and keep good credit. As in Jose Torres’ case, our mock interview and videotaping sessions provide each candidate with valuable feedback and successful tips.

Our Values

We believe:

  • Young adults’ personal growth, quality of life, and ability to be self-reliant are enhanced through successful employment experiences.
  • Young adults are unique and have great personal worth.
  • Young adults deserve to be treated with respect.
  • Young adults need to understand their strengths and recognize their options in order to reach their full potential.
  • Young adults who apply these values will gain increased self-esteem and a greater ability to understand what it takes to live a significant life that makes a meaningful contribution to society.