Mission, Vision and History

OUR MISSION

As a not-for-profit organization, our mission is to enrich the community by providing English-language support services to help Quebecers find employment and start and grow businesses.

Our passion is to help people in our community reach their potential. At our core, we are focused on helping our clients develop a personal career or business strategy and giving them the skills and confidence to execute. 
 
WE'RE CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF CREATING SUCCESSFUL FUTURES

1995
Youth Employment Services (YES) was founded in 1995 as a result of a provincial task force concerned with the outflow of young English-speakers who were leaving Quebec in search of other opportunities. At first, YES was mandated to assist English-speaking people between the ages of 16-35 find EMPLOYMENT in Quebec.
 
1996
YES added ENTREPRENEURSHIP ASSISTANCE for people of ALL AGES to its mandate – debuting its services with the Montreal Entrepreneur’s Guidebook.

2000
YES added SERVICES FOR ARTISTS OF ALL AGES and backgrounds seeking English-language employment and entrepreneurship assistance in their field – the program now includes career and entrepreneurship counselling tailored to artists, day and evening workshops and an annual conference. YES highlighted 15 female role models to inspire women and girls to enter and remain in tech careers

2001-2002

YES developed a comprehensive MENTORSHIP PROGRAM to complement our artists, entrepreneurship and job search programs.
 
2002-2003
YES published the 3rd edition of The Montreal Entrepreneur's Guidebook, an invaluable tool for new and established entrepreneurs to start or expand their business in Montreal. 
 
2003-2004
YES published Business Skills for Creative Souls: The Montréal Artist’s Handbook, a must-have resource for self-employed artists in Montreal based on interviews with local industry professionals.
 
2004-2005
YES celebrated its 10th Anniversary.
 
2005-2006
YES developed a major strategic plan to help guide vision for the next three years.
 
2006-2007
The new strategic plan was implemented with emphasis on fundraising and growth. A fundraising audit was done, and several INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS were managed. YES worked with Jack Jedwab to develop a report on employment and entrepreneurial issues faced by minorities titled “Self-Employment and Employment in Quebec’s English-speaking Cultural Communities and Visible Minorities:  Prospects and Problems”.
 
2007-2008
YES moved to new and larger premises at 666 Sherbrooke Street West and held its first fundraising event “Tune In To YES”.
 
2008-2009
YES successfully mobilized to fight potential funding cuts. YES produced website videos for Job Seekers, Artists and Entrepreneuers and created the Making Your Way Handbook.
 
2009-2010
YES continues to grow in numbers and funding. Inaugural Art Expo takes place with close to 1,000 people attending.
 
2010-2011
YES instituted off-site business coaching. YES began reaching out to other regions in Quebec through Destination Montreal; a project to support youth between the ages of 16-35 who have moved to Montreal from the regions. YES began addressing issues of mental health as it relates to the organization's mission.
 
2011-2012
YES started a Strategic Planning Process. YES invested in Smartboard technology to improve the delivery of online workshops and coaching sessions. The YES regional development initiative was launched with support from CED.
           
2012-2013
YES launched a first-of-its-kind series of FOCUS GROUPS designed to improve employment outcomes and help new arrivals overcome the challenges they face when seeking employment in Quebec. YES introduced the WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY (WIT) Program – a three-year initiative to increase the number of women working and succeeding in Quebec’s technology industry. YES also issued two Research Reports – a Gender-Based Analysis of Women in Technology and a report on Mental Health Issues faced by Job Seekers. 
 
2013-2014
YES hosted two new events – Creative Connections and Network Now - to provide meaningful networking opportunities for Quebec's Artistic and Tech Communities. YES launched a series of six motivational videos profiling successful English-speaking professionals in Quebec, and began making monthly appearances on Global Morning News.
 
2014-2015
YES published the 2nd edition of Business Skills for Creative Souls: The Essential Artist’s Handbook, and hosted a 2-day Art Expo showcasing emerging artists from Montreal, Gaspé, Rouyn-Noranda, Lower North Shore, Quebec City and other regions of Quebec.  

2015-2016
YES celebrated it's 20th anniversary with an open house. YES introduced several projects, namely the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics) Mentorship program for women and Community Talks Video Project, which brought together unemployed youth, government, educational institutions and media. YES launched the Human Library project, a mentorship-based initiative, and a new website.

2016-2017
YES continued enhancing its STEM Mentorship Program and introduced two new web tools: JobPrepper, an interactive job search tool as well as an instructional video series, 
Quick Tips to Guide Your Job Search. YES released Voices of the Human Library, a series of videos based on the Human Library project as well as Silver Linings, a series of inspirational videos.YES also released reports on barriers to entrepreneurship for new arrivals and regional job search services.

2017-2018
YES becomes more and more present in the political landscape of Quebec. Throughout the year, YES met
 with: The Honourable Carlos Leitao, Minister of Finance; The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; The Honourable Mélanie Joly. YES also presented to the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages on modernizing the Official Languages. YES welcomed Hon. Kathleen Weil, the minister responsible for English-speaking Quebecers to the centre.

In March 2018, YES was invited to a roundtable discussion with Honourable Ministers Hadju and Bains to inform conversations to take place at the G7 regarding Advancing Women in STEM.

As part of our new project: Advancing Women in STEM, YES was invited to take part in the PAN-CANADIAN WOMEN LEADERS NETWORK; a collaboration of 150 women leaders from across Canada, each representing local Status of Women Canada funded projects to advance gender equality.

YES conducted a research study, English-Speaking SMEs – Accessing New Markets Report, to identify the gaps in development and supports needed to expand English-speaking entrepreneurship through international trade.

YES also helped to launch Y4Y Quebec, a provincial non-profit youth network committed to addressing the issues facing English-speaking youth (ages 16-30). As well, YES hosted the first ever Youth Uemployment: It's Everyone's Issue, a forum designed to discuss the issues of unemployment and under employment affecting Anglophone and Allophone youth in Quebec, and in July 2018, launched Skills Link, a paid training and experience program for youth, ages 18-30.

As part of its Job Search Program, YES also launched its new Employment Program for Newcomers to specifically address the needs and challenges of English-speaking new arrivals so they can access the job market and integrate into the Quebec economy.

YES continued to invest in technology and developed a new Artist Adventure game to help more artists across the province increase their knowledge of e-Commerce, Personal Branding and Online Marketing in a fun and engaging way. 

Throughout the year, we provide individual career counselling, business coaching, day and evening workshops, mentoring, conferences, and networking opportunities. In addition to having a stellar in-house staff, we rely on our network of partners from the business, non-profit, media, academic and corporate communities to deliver services, act as mentors, and provide strategic direction.

2018-2019


For nearly 25 years, YES has been a central resource for Quebec’s English-speaking community to turn to for holistic, timely and relevant services and supports to help them find work, start and grow their businesses, or develop the business skills they need to sustain a living from their art so that they may continue to build their lives in Quebec. 

Job Search Program 

Revitalizing a New Generation of Job Seekers: Job Search Services at YES 

Our core Job Search Services offer job seekers inclusive and accessible programming to provide the employability skills required to start their careers and increase their success in finding employment. We offer a comprehensive selection of one-on-one counselling, workshops, mentorship opportunities, conferences, and networking events. Our 8-week Peer-to-Peer Support program provides individuals with the critical social supports, tools, and resources to complement their job search strategy and is a key support network for those experiencing depression and anxiety arising as a direct result of their unemployment. 

Newcomers Employment Program 

YES provides programming specific to the unique challenges faced by new arrivals in Quebec including: the lack of networks, cultural differences, difficulties transferring foreign credentials, adapting to cross-cultural workplaces, and limited communication skills. We have added 10 targeted employment workshops for new arrivals and networking opportunities where participants can strengthen ties to local networks while searching for employment. 

Skills Link Program: Supporting At-Risk Youth 

Through Skills Link, YES is helping youth with barriers to employment develop a broad range of life skills, knowledge and hands-on experience that they can use to transition into the job market. Participants benefit from 8 weeks of intensive job search and employability training, followed by 12 weeks of work experience. 87% of Skills Link participants either found employment or returned to school. 

NEW Dialogue McGill Partnership: Retaining Talent amongst English speaking Youth 

YES continues to address the urgent need to attract and retain talented Englishspeaking graduates, increase access to 21st century career and skills development, and help integrate youth into the Quebec economy. In collaboration with McGill University, we are placing job-ready youth into career internships, matching them with prospective employers, facilitating “Chit Chat” language exchanges between English and French speakers, and targeting employability support to underserved youth. 

NEW Provincial Employment Roundtable: Incubating the Vitality of English-Speaking Communities 

In partnership with the Secrétariat aux relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise (SRQEA), YES is leading the Provincial Employment Roundtable which will create a coalition of organizations across Quebec who provide employment support services to English-speaking communities. This initiative will develop a clear action plan for a new network to carry out research, influence policy, and secure an equitable level of funding to support English-speaking people across Quebec. 

Job Search Services Provided in 2018/19: 
  • 1,616 active YES Job Search clients made 7,791 visits to the YES Centre.  
  • 87% of Job Search clients found employment, started a business, returned to school, or were referred to another program.  
  • 3,807 one-on-one counselling sessions with YES employment counsellors.  
  • 273 day and evening workshops tailored to job seekers with 3,913 participants.  
  • 1,038 positions were made available to clients through YES’ Job Postings on our website and in the centre. 


Entrepreneurship Program  

A Learning Ecosystem for Innovators: Entrepreneurship Services at YES 

YES’ Entrepreneurship program offers the vital supports and services designed to help entrepreneurs see possibilities, gain clarity, develop and refine their business ideas, and be connected to the resources they need to succeed. Clients gain the knowledge, tools, and access to key resources through one-on-one business coaching, fast-paced “Business Bootcamps” and group coaching, mentoring and network opportunities, accounting and legal clinics, and interactive workshops on topics such as financing, marketing, social entrepreneurship, utilizing social media, tax tips, and many more. 

Entrepreneurship Speaker Series: “Inform. Inspire. Connect.” 

YES partnered with SAP Labs and Google to connect entrepreneurs to key networks and business leaders in two Entrepreneurship Speaker Series events. In “Womenpreneurs in STEM”, 80 aspiring entrepreneurs benefited from an in-depth look at the realities of female entrepreneurship, and shared valuable lessons learned and resources available to women entrepreneurs as provided by seasoned professional women business owners. In “The Art of the Hustle”, over 120 attendees gained sought-after industry insights, knowledge, and key strategies from those that succeeded in the Québec start-up community. 

Innovative Access to Business Mentors & NEW E-Learning Launched 

Our clients accessed nearly 100 mentors from our “Human Library”, an online knowledge bank of professional profiles belonging to community volunteers of diverse backgrounds and business experience. We released new Video Tutorials for regional entrepreneurs to help fill in gaps of information needed to launch their businesses and held an “Impact Dialogue” Series where senior professionals possessing a high level of experience and expertise in the workplace (i.e., as business owners) shared intergenerational and intercultural learning accessible to young entrepreneurs. 

Entrepreneurship Services Provided in 2018/19: 
  • 2,551 active YES entrepreneurship clients (1,438 were new clients to YES) across Quebec accessed a total of 9,561 direct services (coaching, drop-in sessions, group coaching, workshops, etc.).  
  • 5,831 one-on-one business coaching sessions with YES business coaches; 2,803 day and evening workshop attendances.  
  • 532 new businesses registered or expanded within the province of Quebec. 

Artists’ Program 

Hands-On Learning: Business Skills for Creative Souls 

Our Business Skills for Creative Souls program provides artists of all disciplines the business skills they need in order to turn their art and passion into a viable career or business through personalized one-on-one artist business coaching, group coaching and business skills workshops for artists, as well as experiential learning and opportunities to showcase their art and expand networks and build partnerships through innovative events and conferences. 

Business Skills for Creative Souls Annual Conference 2019 

Nearly 200 artists attended our 19th Annual Business Skills for Creative Souls Conference to gain insights from successful Quebec artists on how they transformed their work into a sustainable and profitable business. This year’s conference theme was ‘What Emerging Artists Can Learn from Thinking Big!’ and was hosted by Sonali Karnick, CBC Host and Journalist. The day included three informative panel discussions, an inspirational keynote speech by Cheryl Sim, Managing Director/Curator at the Fondation Phi Pour L'Art Contemporain, and networking lunch. 

Incubating Young Artists: Business Skills for Creative Youth 

Business Skills for Creative Youth is an incubator program designed for at-risk, youth artists aged 18-25 facing multiple barriers including having left school, being unemployed or living in poverty. A variety of interventions including one-on-one and group coaching, targeted workshops and mentorship from established artists and role models aided the 79% of participants who completed the program in identifying career and self-employment options in their discipline and building business skills, networks and the direction they need to succeed. 

What the POP! Artists’ Pop-Up Events September 2018 

The lack of a venue to showcase their art is a major barrier to the success of Englishspeaking artists. To address this, YES developed a series of Pop-Up events that took place in Old Montreal, St-Henri and Mile-Ex where 55 English-speaking artists from Montreal and the surrounding regions showcased their art to 1,258 attendees. The artists attended a YES workshop to help them prepare for the event on topics including self-promotion, pricing, developing meaningful connections and networking, as well as the mechanics of setting up their own Pop-Up event – all valuable experiential learning to build a sustainable arts-based business in Quebec. 

Artist Services Provided in 2018/19: 
  • 727 active YES Artist clients made 2,082 visits to the YES Centre, including 1,138 one-on-one arts coaching sessions and 599 business skills training workshop attendances. 

YES Advancing Women & Community Vitality 

Nurturing Female Entrepreneurship: Women in Entrepreneurship Series 

Given that over 54% of clients accessing YES’ Entrepreneurship Services are women and face unique barriers to full participation in the ecosystem, we have created relevant and quality programming specific to their needs. In recognition of Women Entrepreneurship Month in May, we presented a series of workshops specific to women around building their business networks, developing business skills and learning key strategies to leverage their strengths and overcome the challenges they face in today’s competitive business landscape. Topics included “Exploring Women Entrepreneurship”, “MOMpreneurs: Balancing Business at Family” and “Creating a Life & Business You Love Waking Up To”, among others. 

Catalyzing Systemic Change: Advancing Women in STEM 

With the recognition that men outnumber women in STEM by a ratio of 3:1 and earn an average of $9,100 more than women in the same positions, YES is leading a panCanadian initiative to pilot the creation of new strategies, tools and frameworks to help with the promotion and retention of women in STEM. In partnership with CAE, IC Axon, and Purkinje, we are collaborating to test and promote internal initiatives and novel approaches that will support female employees, influence organizations to counteract gender bias, and serve as a model for advancing women in the STEM industries across Quebec and Canada. 

NEW: Envisioning an Innovation Hub in Quebec: E-Hub Feasibility Study 

YES has completed a feasibility study on the viability of an e-Hub to provide Englishspeaking entrepreneurs, job-seekers, and artists with access to a shared space, equipment and other resources to develop the skills needed to thrive in, and contribute to, Quebec’s future economy. This space would also bring together professionals from various sectors to build entrepreneurial skills, find talent, and create, collaborate and innovate. Our study identified the tools, resources, best practices, and financial feasibility to create such a micro-ecosystem – a place for the English-language business community to catalyze community economic development and strengthen of the vitality of Quebec’s Official Language Minority community. 

2019-2020

For 25 years, YES has been a central resource for Quebec’s English-speaking community, offering  holistic, timely and relevant services and supports to help them find work, start and grow their  businesses, or develop the business skills they need to sustain a living from their art so that they  may continue to build their lives in Quebec.  

Since the nation-wide lockdown in March, YES has shifted all core services online and over the phone to continue to support and assist job seekers, entrepreneurs and artists as they forge their career path and earn a living throughout the pandemic. In that time, we have seen a 100% increase in service delivery in the Entrepreneurship programs alone (Apr-Jun, 2020). Supporting the integration of all Quebecers into the provincial economy has never been more important. 

JOB SEARCH PROGRAM 

Helping English-Speaking Job Seekers Succeed  

Our core Job Search Services offer job seekers inclusive and accessible programming to provide the employability skills required to start or continue their careers and increase their success in finding employment. We offer a comprehensive selection of one-on-one employment and career counselling, workshops, mentorship opportunities, conferences, and networking events. Our programing continues to be successful, with 83% of clients last year reporting finding a job or returning to school.  

Breaking the Isolation of Job Search  

YES not only supports job seekers in developing the skills they need to set themselves apart in their job search, we also help foster connections that lead to fulfilling careers throughout our client’s lifetime. The Network @ Nite event allowed job seekers to test out the networking know-how they acquired in YES workshops, while connecting them to mentors in their field. We also hosted a Career and Job Fair Mixer in Spring 2020, where roughly 20 local businesses connected with clients in a welcoming and collaborative environment that allowed the job seekers’ talents to shine.  

Skills Link Program: Supporting At-Risk Youth  

Through Skills Link, YES helps youth with barriers to employment develop life skills, knowledge and hands-on experience that they can use to transition into the job market, all within an inclusive environment. Participants benefit from 8 weeks of intensive job search and employability training, followed by 12 weeks of paid work experience. Of the 85% of Skills Link participants who were placed into work experiences, 92% succeeded in finding and keeping employment after the subsidy period, with 6% returning to school.  

Helping Develop Skills in Need  

YES works hard to deliver valuable training to help clients succeed in navigating their career or build their resume, offering 274 day and evening workshops tailored to job seekers to more than 3,000 participants last year alone. Included in these offerings are multiple programs aimed at helping English-speakers develop the French skills they need to enter the workforce successfully. The Chit Chat program aims to bridge the gap between English and French-speakers, bringing them together in a collaborative and low-stakes environment to build their language skills and networks at the same time. YES also continues to offer a series of workshops aimed at arming English-speaking job seekers with the French vocabulary they need to successfully compete on the job market today.  

Provincial Employment Roundtable: Working Together to Support English-Speakers in Quebec 

 In partnership with the Secrétariat aux relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise (SRQEA), YES is leading the formation of the Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT), which creates a coalition of organizations across Quebec who provide employment support services to English-speaking communities. This initiative will develop a clear action plan for a new network to carry out research, influence policy, and secure an equitable level of funding to support English-speaking people across Quebec. In November, PERT hosted a keynote conference that aimed to build a new partnership between our community and the government of Quebec to improve the employment picture for English-speakers. Attended by over 50 organizations, the conference led to 39 recommendations that could help ensure more English-speakers access jobs.  

Job Search Services Provided in 2019-20:  

• 1,490 active Job Search clients made 6,492 visits to the YES Centre.  
• 83% of Job Search clients found employment, started a business, returned to school, or were referred to another program.  
• 2,740 one-on-one counselling sessions with YES employment counsellors.  
• 274 day and evening workshops tailored to job seekers with 3,077 participants.  
• 955 positions were made available to clients through the Job Postings on our website and in the Centre 


ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM 

Democratizing Entrepreneurship for All  

YES’ Entrepreneurship services support English-speaking innovators throughout their entire entrepreneurship experience - from ideation to refinement, launch to expansion. We connect entrepreneurs to the knowledge, tools and networks they need to successfully build their businesses here in Quebec, with one-on-one business coaching, mentorship, networking events, specialized and interactive workshops, legal and accounting clinics and more. No matter your age or stage of business, YES is ready to support you in your journey to success.  

Advancing Women in STEM  

This Spring we completed a 3-year mandate on advancing systemic change for women in STEM. This project saw a variety of initiatives aimed at retaining, supporting and advancing talented women in STEM careers piloted in 3 partner companies in the local technology sector – GSoft, IC Axon (a Division of GP Canada Co) and OneSpan. The project culminated with a panel event at SAP Labs Canada, where representatives from each company shared their successes, challenges and lessons learned throughout the pilot. YES was happy to host Canadian-Iranian engineer and philanthropist, Dr. Gina Cody, whose keynote address validated our initiative and motivated the crowd of stakeholders to continue breaking down barriers and pushing toward a more equitable future for women in STEM. Interested in learning more? Find the full report at yesadvancingwomen.com. 

Helping Women Entrepreneurs Succeed 

Did you know that only 15% of entrepreneurs in Montreal are women? Increasing women’s access to entrepreneurship is essential to an economically competitive Quebec. With this in mind, YES has introduced a 3-year initiative, ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs, which will help more than 1,000 English-speaking women in Quebec harness the entrepreneurial ecosystem. ELLEvate will connect women to networks of entrepreneurs, partners and mentors, help them find role models, identify strategic opportunities and take their place in the ecosystem. The program also includes an annual “pre-accelerator” where 10 select women entrepreneurs will participate in an intensive 3-month program set to connect them to the network and tools they need to accelerate and scale their businesses, and culminating in a pitch competition where they will have the opportunity to win valuable cash prizes.  

Rapid Crisis Response & Support YES has partnered with the Ville de Montreal to help support small businesses as they respond to the fallout from COVID-19. The new Risk, Response and Recovery program helps entrepreneurs assess their current level of risk as well as identify strategic opportunities, creating a concrete plan to help navigate both. Entrepreneurs are connected to the resources and tools that will help them execute, as well as given access to workshops that will help them build the skills they need to support their business in the new reality, such as digital marketing, content creation at home, and more.  

Entrepreneurship Services Provided in 2019-20:  

•2,366 active entrepreneurship clients (1,274 were new to YES) across Quebec accessed a totalof 8,733 direct services (coaching, drop-in sessions, group coaching, workshops, etc.). 
•5,764 one-on-one business coaching sessions with YES business coaches; 2,709 day and evening workshop attendances. 
•+500 new businesses registered or expanded within the province of Quebec. 

 
ARTIST PROGRAM 

Cultivating Quebec’s Creative Capital  

YES’ niche Artist programming is unique within Quebec, arming the province’s English-speaking artist community with the knowledge and skills they need to transform their talent into a revenue stream. Last fall YES was happy to welcome a new dedicated Artist Coach, Gonzalo Coloma-Rospigliosi, who has over 20 years of international experience in the entertainment industry. Through one-on-one guidance, mentorship, and skills-based workshops and programming on everything from grant writing to intellectual property, artists at YES find the network of support they need as they cultivate and grow their creative capital, right here in Quebec.  

Connecting Young Creatives in Quebec  

Designed to facilitate accessibility for young artists to the various resources available to them within the province, the CCY program connects young artists aged 18-35 to the organizations, mentors, industry insiders and granting programs that can help them build a more successful career in Quebec. Hands-On Learning With Pop Ups The What the Pop! pop up exhibition series provides artists with a winning combination of experiential learning and the opportunity to showcase their work, expand their networks and build partnerships. Last year’s series allowed 50 artists to learn about promotion, pricing and networking, as well as how to create their own pop-up event, before featuring their work to hundreds of attendees at pop-up exhibitions in the Plateau, Old Montreal and Verdun over a series of three weekends.  

Artist Services Provided in 2019-20:  

•655 active artist clients made 1,417 visits to the YES Centre, including over 740 one-on-onearts coaching sessions and 638 business skills training workshop attendances. 

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