National 2015 Cohort
Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.)
President: Carol Rivchun
Youth Opportunities Unlimited's (Y.O.U.) offers school and community-based workforce and entrepreneurship education programs for youth ages 14 to 24 who live in economically distressed communities in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The organization provides the skills, knowledge and experiences vital to getting that important first job along with post-secondary education and training.
School-based workforce programs provide one-on-one career coaching and classes in employment skills with an emphasis on social and emotional development. Youth in the program have access to job placement and internship opportunities.
“We had the vision of being a data-informed culture that uses research and evidence-based practices; PropelNext gave us the technical resources, inspiration and peer camaraderie that motivated us to get through the hard work it takes to transform our organization.”
- Carol Rivchun, Y.O.U.
Community-based workforce programs focus on preparation and placement of youth in paid work experiences, summer jobs, and internships. Youth develop skills necessary to be successful employees and have opportunities to reflect on how their experiences inform career planning.
Entrepreneurship education is a for-credit course that teaches youth how to develop business plans and connects them with volunteers from the business community who give feedback on the realities of being an entrepreneur.
Y.O.U. has documented its program's impact: in 2016, 85 percent of students in grades 9-11 advanced to the next grade; 85 percent of students in grade 12 graduated on time from high school; 80 percent of graduates went on to college, other post-secondary study, military, and/or employment; 60 percent of youth placed in a job kept it at least three months, and 90 percent of youth who started a summer job or internship completed the assignment.
Watch Carol Rivchun talk about her organization's experiences