YEPP Job Readiness Workshop

Summer 2018

Job Readiness Workshop Teaches Youth Problem Solving Skills

During a recent Job Readiness Training workshop held at our office, 16 young adults were introduced to employability tools designed to assist them in real-world employment settings. The youth are a part of the Youth Employment Pathways Program (YEPP), a program that helps provide young men and women between the ages of 14-24 with career plans and on the job training experiences.  During this workshop, key activities were centered on effective communication skills, work ethics/respect on the job, leadership development, time management/teamwork and critical thinking/problem-solving skills.

In this ‘No-Hands Cup Stacking’ activity, the challenge was to build a pyramid out of the paper cups without touching the cups with their hands. They used an apparatus made of rubber bands and balloons to pick up the cups and stack them on top of each other.   The exercise encouraged communication, critical thinking, teamwork and respect on the job.

For this ‘293 Popcorn’ activity, the goal for both teams was to estimate, construct and design a creative container based on volume given specific materials that would hold exactly 293 popped kernels of popcorn. The youth decided on group supervisors, team leaders and staff members for each of the groups. It focused on active listening, leadership development, teamwork, problem-solving and time management.

The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Debbie Warner (pictured top middle), Educational Consultant/Trainer.  Ms. Warner debriefed each activity with a follow-up discussion for youth to share, exchange and digest new ideas as they reflected on the learning experiences. They were encouraged to work together, address any challenges that existed, express how they were able to resolve the problem and identify what they gained beyond these experiential learning activities that relate to time, task and resource management skills that they can apply on the job. Youth were able to correlate these activities with real-world application of job challenges and the importance of being a part of a critical thinking and problem-solving team to identify possible solutions while demonstrating a positive work ethic.

The Union County Workforce Development Board awarded United Way of Greater Union County a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant to continue operations of the Youth Employment and Training Consortium (YETC).  Since its inception in 2015, the program has served over 300 young people enrolled in our Youth Employment Pathways Program (YEPP). We’ve expanded our reach in working with non-profit organizations, educational institutions and local businesses all across Union County to provide youth with the necessary tools they'll need in order to successfully secure employment. This initiative is sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

For more information on our YEPP Program, please visit our website at