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Inspiring Conversations with Ysian Hassel of MyCom CLE

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ysian Hassel. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Youth Connect 216, originally known as the Youth Workforce Advisory Board, was founded in early 2020, prior to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Funded by the non-profit organization MyCom CLE, in partnership with Ohio Means Jobs, the initial idea of the board is to advocate and engage high potential youth; individuals who identified between the ages of 16-24 who were unemployed, not currently enrolled in school, or any type of training program. The board’s purpose is to identify the barriers that youth face when obtaining and maintaining consistent employment, and suppling resources given to the board via local community networks to these youth. We are the connection. Youth Connect 216 was selected out of a number of organizations throughout the United States to participated in a Hackathon competition event sponsored by Johnson & Johnson in the summer 2021. The process consisted of various virtual meetings with Johnson and Johnson representations and presentations with global scholars, and our efforts resulted in us receiving a twenty-five-thousand-dollar grant from the Johnson and Johnson company itself to continue providing resources and opportunities to high-potential youth on a substantial scale. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The board had been constructed merely two months prior to global outbreak and, much like the rest of society, were forced to adjust to a virtual platform. In-person workshops transitioned into ZOOM workshops; all engagement and outreach had to be done through a computer screen rather than in person. There has been an enormous shift in the dynamic of the workforce within the aftermath of the COVID-19 virus and there became an even larger need for employees in the workplace. The pandemic exposed the normalities of the workshop structure and further altered the way in which people viewed the work environment, especially for the upcoming generation of youth. Young adults are becoming extremely self-aware with demanding higher, liveable wages in order to work or would rather do quick money gigs with flexible hours instead of committing to a basic 9-5 job. As a boards, it is imperative for us to listen to the youth voice, advocate for young adult’s needs and connect them with the proper resources t opportunities that will further enrich their lives 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
MyCom is a neighborhood-based non-profit organization in the Greater Cleveland area that focuses on the engagement and development of youth, building community partnerships, and providing resources and opportunities to meet the standards of identified needs. MyCom’s network is centered on Youth and are compromised of youth councils composed of young people within 13 regional areas of Cleveland, from Warrensville Heights to Detroit Shoreway (A complete list of MyCom neighborhood counselors are listed on the MyCom website). Youth development is community development, “My Commitment, to My Community.” MyCom sponsors a project call the Resource closet, which was initiated to address the immediate needs of youth and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically with cleaning and household supplies. There are several closets located across the Greater Cleveland area and are for youth ages 6-18 to obtain needed products for their families with no additional cost or fee. Locations and additional information for the MyCom Resource Closet can be found on the MyCom website. Donations to the MyCom Resource Closet are greatly appreciated. 

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
If there are any employers or local businesses that are now hiring or recruiting for positions to be filled, please feel free to reach out to us at our email ywab2020@gmail.com. Youth Connect 216 hosts workshops once a month on Saturday evenings to provide tips and direct assistance in obtaining and maintaining employment, supplying various additional recourses, and sharing active employment opportunities. Attendees receive a money incentive for participation. Youth interested in the opportunity to participate in one of our upcoming workshops can sign up via the link found on the MyCom website or in Instagram bio. 

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