Meet the Alumni From Our Empowerment to Employment Program
Some people may not know that the Y has workforce programs, much less E2E. What is E2E? E2E stands for Empowerment to Employment – Urban Services YMCA’s program for Bay Area youth between ages 17-24 to assist them with internship and job placement skills. The program offers 4-5 weeks of training workshops such as resumes, cover letters, mock interviews and financial literacy. These workshops develop skillsets that are relevant to the workforce and their own lives. I was one of the participants in the E2E cohort last Fall 2022 and it landed me a role as an intern in YSF’s Marketing and Communications department! Recently, (on the job) I met with three E2E alumni to talk about their experiences with the program and how it has also helped them gain skills and knowledge that brought them to their current roles today.
Meet the Alumni
Tiffany Chen (she/her): age 22, web producer, majored in finance. She participated in E2E in 2021 and is currently working at the University of San Francisco (USF). She heard about the program from the first-generation community organizations at USF.
Ethan Louie (he/him): age 19, intern, new high school graduate, current major: economics. He participated in E2E last Fall 2022 and is currently working for a property manager/real estate agent. His mom told him about the program.
Angelica Flores (she/her): age 19, social media manager, current field of interest: business. She participated in E2E last Fall 2022 and is currently working in HOA and rental property. She heard about the program through her previous internships.
Here Are Their Stories
What was your favorite workshop and why?
Tiffany: So, I think one of the topics was kind of just understanding the workspace and how relationships form that way as well as how we can communicate better. That was really interesting to learn about [because] it has helped me in terms of bolstering my communication with my colleagues and with other teams when we're cross-communicating.
Ethan: My favorite workshop was on goal setting. So, we had a document and then wrote down some goals and some steps to achieve them. I thought that it was a really good workshop. I've looked back at that document and actually achieved a lot of the things that I wrote down. I wrote that I wanted to read 10 books, get my squat to 225 lbs. and save $1,000 – I achieved all of these by the end of las year.
Angelica: Financial literacy [or budgeting] was one of my favorite workshops. It’s important to learn how to budget your money for important things and [have a] savings.
When did you realize that you like the field you’re currently in?
Tiffany: I think before going into it, I was pretty set on pursuing a career in law. I was considering law school and then I remembered that Edie had an internship opportunity with a women’s law firm but unfortunately, the opportunity just didn't exist anymore at the time. So, [then] I partnered with the nonprofit, Emerge California, [which] is a democratic female training program for women leaders. Going through that really made me kind of switch directions in terms of what I do now, which is more focused on things like digital marketing and brand management.
Ethan: I just graduated from high school and I’m still exploring other places as well as learning the skills as I go.
Angelica: I’m still exploring many things and other opportunities out there.
What’s your current work role since finishing the E2E program?
Tiffany: I've worked a lot with designing USF’s website – both the internal and external sites that we have. It [involves] a lot of communicating with campus clients in terms of how we can best market their programs on our site, what content we want to update and present to prospective students as well as parents and potential donors.
Ethan: My responsibilities at work include organizing files, scheduling work with vendors and occasionally helping out at open houses.
Angelica: The work I do is creating social media posts of tips and tricks about living in an HOA and rental property, which I plan and schedule. I do research on [what it’s like] living in HOA and share information that would be helpful for people to know.
What’s something that you’ve learned from this experience and why?
Tiffany: For me, I think just joining [E2E] was something that I didn't think would be part of my undergraduate plan. It was something kind of unexpected that came up in terms of how I would be having resources for [other] internships. I graduated with a finance degree, and it was like you're supposed to go work as an intern and hopefully secure a job [but] this was a very different path that didn't align with what I thought I wanted. [In the end,] it honestly turned out to be the best experience. It's given me so many opportunities in terms of what’s out there in life and what I can do that's different from working for a corporation.
Ethan: The most important thing that E2E has taught me is to just put myself out there, take risks and not be afraid to be uncomfortable. Before E2E, I was really shy and kind of [unable] to talk to people. But I interact with so many people now that it's just become a habit and that wouldn't have happened without me taking risks and being able to be open to discomfort.
Angelica: Something I’ve learned about the experience is that it taught me how to apply the skills [I’ve learned] into my everyday life and outside of work too.
Empowering Today For A Better Tomorrow
YSF’s E2E program has provided resources and support for youth on their journey so they have the tools they need to be in the right direction. It’s incredible hearing from other alumni who had impactful experiences from the program which shows how it has benefitted them in the long run. Everyone has their own different path and in learning these skills, their experiences will help prepare them for many opportunities that may come their way. What I hope to see for E2E is for the program to continue growing, adapting and improving in ways that can provide a sustainable future for youth. To learn more about the program, visit www.ymcasf.org/empowerment-to-employment.