SMART PARTNERS

YES Manitoba

This Employment Non-Profit Keeps Youth Connected to New Opportunities

Youth Employment Services Manitoba (YES Manitoba) is a registered charity that serves the province’s youth from ages 16 to 29. Their focus on pre-employment support gives those looking for work the tools they need to stand out in the market, from offering free certifications, to helping with cover letters, and more—and they’ve been doing it for almost 50 years, serving 800 clients annually.

Kelsey Evans is the former Executive Director of YES Manitoba, and finds a lot of meaning helping facilitate employment for young folks facing barriers. “Career development is a big part of connecting to community in a variety of social and economic ways, and not being able to find or secure meaningful work can take a toll on mental health and overall wellbeing,” says Kelsey. “Having that support when you’re struggling can be essential to taking the right steps forward.”

Their Winnipeg-based headquarters keeps that important mission top of mind with all it offers to their community, and they use Shaw Business to power their work. The space is set up to facilitate one-on-one consultations, host certification classes, and provide access to computers so clients can apply for jobs, or work on their resumes. They use Shaw Business’ SmartWiFi Gig to power all their internal office work, as well as provide a strong, reliable network for their guests.

“When folks are coming in to access the Internet, having that speed and ease of access is very important,” says Kelsey. “Speed is very important because we know we’re only seeing folks for a small window of time—maybe someone only has 30 minutes before they have to make it to class—so we have to be as efficient as possible with the IT infrastructure we’re able to provide.”

In fact, YES Manitoba almost found out firsthand what it was like to try and do their jobs without the right infrastructure in place in 2020. “Shaw Business was really vital to transitioning the way we work during pandemic—we weren’t set up for hybrid,” says Kelsey. “We didn't understand at the time the flexibility that the tools we already had provided.”

One of those tools was Shaw Business’ SmartVoice, which the YES Manitoba team uses to maintain access to their phones and voicemail from their computers. This increase in accessibility ensures clients can reach the staff no matter if they’re in the community, working from home, or in-office. “Even if folks aren’t in the office, participants reaching out can get access to who they need when they need to,” says Kelsey. “Our team can do what they do with one device. Everything they need to connect with community partners is at their fingertips.”

Our team can do what they do with one device. Everything they need to connect with community partners is at their fingertips.

Kelsey Evans, Former Executive Director, YES Manitoba

And when work needs to be shuffled or days pivoted, SmartVoice’s features make that easy and efficient for the small non-profit team. Staff have the freedom to decide how they’ll receive voicemails, create their own auto-responses, and set call forwarding based on their individual needs. “The administrative options help people tailor their application to their personal needs without having to go through the office manager to make updates,” says Kelsey. For a small, hardworking team, those little things make a difference.

As an organization whose mandate is to help youth find work, the last few years have certainly been a challenge. But YES Manitoba has been happy to have Shaw Business as a partner in keeping their doors open and ready to serve. “There have been a lot of changes at our org in the last three years, and I've appreciated the adaptability of Shaw Business to meet those needs as we’ve grown, as our work model has evolved, and as we’ve needed to connect with clients in different ways,” says Kelsey.

“There’s never been an issue where Shaw Business hasn’t been able to provide us with what we need.”

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