Youth Employment Services YES

Youth Employment Services YES believes that employment is empowerment and the cornerstone of safe and healthy communities. YES leads the Canadian youth sector with innovative programs that empower disadvantaged and vulnerable youth to become self-sufficient contributing members of society.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

In 1968, The Rotary Club of Toronto founded the first youth employment centre in Canada, Youth Employment Services, YES. 

At YES, we provide young people with free professional counseling and training to help them realize their potential and get back on track. Our training techniques have been so beneficial to our clients that we are used as a teaching model for other employment services across Canada. We are regularly asked by all levels of government to host international delegations from around the world to share our extensive knowledge of effective practices addressing youth unemployment.

YES was the first to both recognize and address that being out of work is often the result of factors beyond the control of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged youth. Low self-esteem, a disability or simply being in need of bus fare to get to a job interview can all have a tremendous effect on youth employment. At YES our mentorship approach gets to the root of these issues and offers a range of effective solutions customized to meet the needs of each individual young person. Since our inception in 1968, YES has helped over 125,000 young people.

Accolades and Accomplishments

Internationally recognized as a Centre of Excellence in Youth Employment, YES leads the sector by providing programs designed to address the most critical issue facing today’s youth. Modeled on the three themes of Employment, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, YES helps young people rebuild their lives and believe in a future filled with hope and opportunity. 

In 2012/13, Youth Employment Services YES had 6,194 clients in all of our programs, and a further 1,806 students attended our workshops for a total of 8,000 clients assisted in various ways in all of our programs. We achieved a 83% success rate in jobs, training or education results.

Awards & Recognition

  • Proud Recipient of the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities’ Awards
  • The National Service Award from The Rotary Club of Toronto - Power of Rotary Awards
  • Minister’s Award for Service Delivery Innovation
  • Minister’s Gold Award for Service Delivery Excellence
  • Minister’s Silver Award for Service Delivery Excellence
  • Mayor’s Community Safety Award – City of Toronto

Our Programs How We Do It


Job Camp is an on-going full-time, 2 week program for disadvantaged and vulnerable youth ages 15-30 consisting of 2 weeks of intense employability and life skills training. After successful program completion participants will work with a YES Job Developer to find employment in an area they have shown interest in.

Social Media Job Search is a new program designed to help youth find employment using social media. 

Youth Collaboration provides holistic services for at-risk unemployed youth ages 15–30. Youth accepted into the program will first participate in 2 weeks of structured, group-based employability and life skills workshops, for which they will be paid minimum wage for 30 hours/week.

Youth Job Centre, located near Keele & Eglinton, assists youth ages 15-30 living in this under-serviced neighbourhood to find employment through group based employability skills training and work experience.

BizStart is a full-time, 11-month entrepreneurship training program at YES.

A Passion for Fashion gives young fashion designers  the opportunity to explore the world of entrepreneurship in the fashion industry.


Streets to Jobs Outreach Workers visit youth shelters, drop in centres, probation offices, and other social service offices to raise awareness of YES services among youth who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless. 

Employment Service (ES) provides participants with individual and group assistance in their job search and can participate in various workshops.  ES also provides one-on-one career counselling and job support, along with providing voice mail, TTC tickets and clothing support (for eligible participants).  Our Resource Library and Phone Centre is also part of ES.

Summer Job Service provides job placement opportunities and employment counselling for students looking for a summer job. Students participating in this service must be 16-24 years old, returning to school in the fall and have attended school in the previous academic year. 


Job Camp

Job Camp is an individually tailored personal development program for young people aged 15 to 30 who are disengaged from the labour market and are not in education, employment or training. It combines one-to-one job search support and group learning activities, delivered by a dedicated team in YES’ Centre of Youth Empowerment.  The program helps young people who face a range of barriers in their lives to ultimately secure and maintain employment through developing concrete employability and life skills.The two week curriculum is designed for young people who may have previously struggled with structured programmes and is delivered using fun and challenging group activities and independent work. Youth learn more about working in a team, managing difference and conflict, building self esteem and confidence, goal setting and trust. Young people also receive one-to-one support from our career counselling team which helps them get the most from the experience. The goals of this program are to provide youth with experiences in the area of job search and life skills through resume writing, planning, budgeting, time management, communication, team building, and group presentations.The objectives are to reduce youth unemployment and enhance economic development in Toronto by assisting multi-barriered youth to aquire employability skills in order to be successful in finding and maintaining employment. 

Funding and Program Partners

Rotary Club of Toronto

Sprott Foundation

Greenshield Foundation

Program Impact

Of the 167 youth Job Camp served last year, 104 youth completed this program and went on to employment, training, or back to school. Three months after the program an incredible 96% were still working, enrolled in training or were still in school.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

"In 2010, the youth (15-24 years old) unemployment rate in the Toronto Region was 18.1% (the national youth unemployment rate was 14.8% and the provincial rate was 17.2%). The rate was almost unchanged from 18.3% in 2009 and a full 7.6 percentage points higher than the 10.5% rate in 2000." (Toronto's Vital Signs, 2011)

Participant Vignette

"I found out about YES when I was younger and on Ontario Works but I found out about Job Camp from a friend on Facebook. I had a lot of interviews but I never got call backs afterwards. I was job hunting every day of the week but I was lacking some very important skills that are key to getting work. I gained a lot of valuable skills and learned a lot of information that helped me get my job. If I had not come to Job Camp I am fairly certain I would still be job hunting. My Career Counsellor and Job Developer were amazing in teaching me and helping me to get work. They gave me the support and encouragement even when I was having a hard time."  ~Ben, Job Camp Participant

What You Can Do


The youth unemployment rate in Toronto is 18.1%, more than double the general unemployment rate.

Even highly educated and qualified youth are reporting that they are struggling to find a job. What about those less fortunate? What about those young people facing challenges such as a lack of formal education, homelessness, having a criminal record, a mental illness, or an addiction?

Unemployment has significant consequences on the youth themselves but also on the community and economy.

According to research, employment affects our physical, mental and social health. Unemployed people have a weaker sense of self and purpose, less opportunities for personal growth, a reduced left expectancy, and suffer more health problems as compared to people who have a job. What will happen to our future if almost 20% of our youth are experiencing diminished physical, mental and social states?

What about our community and our economy? When our youth work, our community works. When youth become contributing members of society, our economy booms. when they are disengaged and relying heavily on social assistance, our economy weakens.

When youth have access to employment and educational opportunities, they can make healthy and positive decisions. When they don’t, our community pays the price.

This is why youth need YES: to ensure that they receive specialized support that will help them access the right opportunities and prepare for, find, and maintain a job.

YES is the largest and most experienced youth employment counseling centre in Canada. We have supported more than 110,000 youth since our inception in 1968.

What Youth are Saying about Us

“Before YES I was unsure about my life decisions because of my criminal history. I was feeling discouraged and really stressed out. Through participating in programs at YES, I secured a job. I am proud of what I have achieved so far, I never thought I could do it. “— John, Job Camp participant

“I was very depressed, struggling with bi-polar disorder and didn’t feel any purpose in life or that life was worth living. Participating at YES me realize that I do have potential and value, not only as an employee but also as a person. Thank you for creating such a fun, and positive environment!”— Brittany, Job Camp participant

“Right after finishing my college, I was looking for a job related to my studies. It was a hard time because of having no experience, idea about how to find a job. Then I came to know about YES. I found the best place to get help. They helped me in every step of my search and got me a job. The best part is they don’t leave you once you get a job. My job developer is still in touch with me from time to time to know how I am doing and to motivate me. YES helped a lot in terms of arranging my first month of travelling expenses too. Thanks!”— Jaideep

Donate today at


Sinead Mc Carthy
VP Growth and Development
416.504.5516 x232
Charitable Number: 832756720RR0001

Finance & Governance


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