YES helps ‘drop-ins’ succeed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Success after dropping out of high school is something one must reach for, said Ronda Ricks with the local Youth Enrichment Services Program, or YES program.

Servicing Coffee, Dale, Geneva, and Covington counties, the YES program is funded through Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). It provides participants assistance in overcoming barriers that have contributed to their lack of success in achieving educational and career goals and serves out-of-school youth ages 17 (16 if court ordered) through 21.

“One of the things I tell my kids is without a GED or a high school diploma, the only job you can get is working at McDonald’s, and even that is soon to change because even fast food places are starting to require a GED or a high school diploma,” Ricks said. “This program helps youth get the skills they need to get an education and a career.”

To do that, the program helps youth prepare for the GED test, provide leadership development, employability skills, community involvement and career exploration. Benefits include paid GED testing, possible two years of paid higher education, field trips, community service and job shadowing to name a few, Ricks said.

“I consider those students who come to us not as ‘drop outs,’ but as ‘drop ins.’ They’re here for help and we provide it. I tell them if you go and get an education, it’s better than going to work at McDonald’s.”