Mooommm… Daaaddd…. What’s trigonometry? Do I have to take another math class? Should I take Home Ec? ‘Tis the season for course selection. A time of the year that can be equally as stressful on parents as it is on the students.

Over the years, we’ve highlighted the testimonials of many YES alumni, but thought it would be nice to give you another view when it comes to the program. The viewpoint of a YES parent.

Lisa Cook, our YES teacher from Blue Mountain and one of the longest tenured teachers in the entire program, recently reached out to us with a random email from the mother of one of her students.

It’s always nice to receive positive feedback, but even better when it’s unsolicited. We decided to reach out to Ms. Swick to say thank you for the kind words and tell her about this marketing piece and she wanted to add a bit more to her original statement.

I thought the Y.E.S. program was extremely beneficial for my daughter who would come home with a lot to talk about in regards to the class. Her stories about preparing for an interview and real world etiquette for employment opened up conversations at home that I didn’t think to have with her prior to her enrollment in the class. She gained valuable insights into what it takes to be a good employee and how to put your best foot forward. I was thrilled at how energetic she was about this class and I feel it empowered her for her future. I highly recommend it!

We’d like to thank Ms. Swick for her kind words and also Ms. Cook for passing along her story. Speaking of Ms. Cook. It’s worth noting that she’s not only a YES teacher, but also the parent of a YES alumnus. Her son Tanner graduated from the program in 2016. When we spoke with her about this story, she immediately had a tale of her own.

Heading into his junior year of college, my son began actively searching for a summer internship. This can be an exciting, yet stressful time for college students – as it often leads to permanent jobs after graduation. Let’s add the complication of Covid and the effects it had on the workforce – and we see there’s a lot riding on this interview. For many students, this is their very first serious interview, which also adds even more pressure and anxiety. But my son wasn’t worried about having an interview, because this was not his first official interview. While in high school, he took the YES class and had a mock interview with a business professional (whom he did not know). He had the opportunity to practice interviewing and get feedback directly from an experienced businessperson (actually this person was a HR Manager). He knew how to prepare for the interview, how to dress, how to introduce himself, all about eye contact and proper posture, what documents he should take with him, how to answer many of the questions, what questions he should ask, what things make him standout and how to follow-up after the interview. He had confidence and felt prepared – which goes a long way in an interview. My son even commented that he felt so prepared thanks to the YES class in high school.  So, don’t let your child miss out on the opportunity to gain useful skills – for any career – while they’re still in high school. Have them sign up for the YES program and begin working on important skills they need for the future. And yes, he was offered the internship! What a big sigh of relief!

We’ve spoken to many parents over the years and they echo much of what Ms. Cook just mentioned. We often hear phrases like ‘I wish I would’ve learned that in high school’ or ‘I didn’t know there was a class that taught those subjects.’

YES is unique in the fact that it touches on topics that other classes don’t address right now. With the majority of classes focused solely on college prep, YES takes a different approach and gives students the basic framework of skills necessary to succeed in whatever career they may end up in. See the modules listed below.


  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Non Verbal Communications
  • Giving & Receiving Feedback
  • Writing Skills
  • Resume Writing
  • Interview Training
  • Customer Service
  • Job Search Skills

Health and Safety

  • Wellness/Lifestyle
  • Stress Management
  • Ergonomics/Safety/Health Knowledge

Personal Development

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Personality Profile
  • Career Path
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Substance Abuse
  • Violence/Diversity/Harassment
  • Total Compensation
  • Time Management
  • Goal Setting
  • Paradigm Shifting
  • Professional Impact
  • Personal Finance
  • Business Etiquette

Quality and Technology

  • Quality
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Understanding Charts
  • Root Cause Analysis


  • Intro to Teamwork
  • Team Effectiveness
  • Effective Meeting Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Conflict Management
  • Generational Diversity
  • Leadership

Beyond the 120-hours’ worth of curriculum that the students learn in the classroom, YES also provides ways in which they can directly connect with businesses. In her story about her son, Ms. Cook touched on the effect that mock interviews had on her son’s career. Beyond mock interviews, we also offer students tours of local facilities from a variety of different industries. While there, they can see first-hand the types of the careers that are out there and gain a better understanding of all the different jobs that are required to make a business operate successfully.

Students also have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers while in the classroom. We have a speaker’s bureau filled with local professionals willing to speak on a variety of subjects. How nice would it be to hear directly from a banking professional about the basics of personal finance or an HR Manager about total compensation? Those are the types of opportunities that YES can offer.

Another valuable opportunity that the program provides is that students have an opportunity to earn an industry-recognized credential upon graduation. In order to earn the certification, students must achieve passing scores on both the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) and the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, demonstrate an attendance rate of 95% or better, pass a six-panel drug screen, complete the 120 hours of curriculum, and earn their high school diploma.

In addition to the industry recognition that the students receive from the certification, we also have four colleges willing to offer scholarships to our YES graduates. Penn State Hazleton and Schuylkill campuses offer graduates that enroll full-time, a one-time scholarship worth $1,000. They’ve been offering this since 2011 and over 200 students have taken advantage of it.

During the fall of 2019, Penn College came on board. They are willing to offer YES graduates a $2,000 renewable scholarship worth up to $8,000 for students interesting in earning a bachelor’s degree through them. For students that are enrolled at a vocational center, that amount can be doubled through a similar scholarship that the college has implemented.

Most recently, Johnson College entered into a partnership with the Council. Beginning during the fall 2021 semester, YES graduates are eligible to earn a one-time $1,000 scholarship as well as four credits based upon prior learning.

For more information on the YES program, feel free to outreach to our staff. We’re more than happy to help!