Since 1982, The Other Way Ministries’ Youth Employment Service (YES) program has mentored, trained, and walked with over 350 youth living on the west side of Grand Rapids, MI. Each summer, the YES program hires 12 teenagers, one teenage supervisor, and two college or post-college supervisors to operate a lawn care business serving the greater west side area. The YES program aims to address the job training needs of local teens, ages 14-16, while also providing affordable lawn care in the community.
“This impacts our community in a few different ways,” said Megan Emigh, Manager of Partnership and Development for The Other Way Ministries. “First, by being a part of the YES program, the teen employees are occupied in a constructive summer activity with positive relationships and financial benefit. Second, participating youth are being set up for future employment and opportunity by engaging in job readiness and money management education, as well as being able to add YES employment references to their resumes. This education also sets youth up to begin saving their earnings and thinking about long-term financial security. Third, the YES program offers lawn care services to 30 senior residents at a discounted rate, helping to make it financially feasible for them to remain in their homes.”
The teens experience their first job interview, and participate in mock interviews with local businesses to learn essential interview skills; they receive help to create and develop their first resume; and learn valuable employment skills such as discipline, work ethic, arriving to work on time, cleanliness and appearance, and appropriate behavior in a work setting. They also gain valuable knowledge about applying for colleges, and owning their own business.
The overall goal of the YES program is to set west side youth on a path that will allow them to be successful, no matter what obstacles they may face, and to have access to better opportunities.