March Newsletter 2023

Success for Alisha in the Hospitality Field

Alisha was having a tough time finding a job but she refused to give up.  Despite having no work experience, she kept searching for opportunities that would help her break into the workforce.  She began her job search in 2019 and when the pandemic hit, looking for work became even more challenging.  In October of 2022, Alisha learned about programs at YES that could help her secure a job and she connected with us. 

On her initial visit, Alisha learned about Employment Ontario’s Youth Job Connection program, which helps young people who face barriers to employment connect to work, training and education.  Alisha was an excellent candidate for the program.  She was excited to learn that she could start earning money right away because the program starts with 60 hours of paid pre-employment training.   During the training, Alisha’s Youth Worker Hailey Lyght, worked with her to  identify her skills and interests, develop a resume and learn valuable skills to carry with her in to the workplace.

Upon completion of the training, Alisha worked with Employment Relations team member, Tracy Laffin.  Tracy was thrilled to learn that Alisha was interested in the hospitality field.  The hospitality industry was hit hard by the pandemic.  According to Statistics Canada, employment in the accommodation and food services sector decreased by 38.9% between February 2020 and February 2021.  The industry is still recovering and there is a need for young people interested in entering the field.

Tracy connected Alisha with an opportunity at the Valhalla Inn.  Alisha was excited about working in housekeeping at the hotel which was just 10 minutes away from home.  She met with the Housekeeping Manager, Christine Brezden.  The initial meeting went well and she joined the team in December 2022.  Christine put Alisha through a training regimen that included cleaning the rooms, working in laundry, vacuuming, sweeping and general hotel cleaning to identify the areas where she excelled.  Alisha really appreciated the support and respect that she received from Christine and from her team.  “It feels like a family”, she said. 

When we asked Christine about how recruitment in her department was going, she was happy to report that things were going well.  She had recently hired an additional 14 staff members and retention was strong as well.  She said that a lot of resumes have come through word of mouth from existing employees which speaks volumes.  She has clearly created a welcoming environment for new employees. 

Alisha’s positive experience at the Valhalla Inn culminated in the offer of a permanent Houseperson position at the end of her placement.  She is grateful for the opportunity and is excited about her future in the hospitality industry.  Congratulations to Alisha and a big YES thank you to the Valhalla Inn and leaders like Christine for providing support, training and employment to young people in our community.

If you would like to participate in the Youth Job Connection program, or if your business would like to hire a young person through the YJC program, call 807-623-0768 or e-mail

On-Site Job Fairs

YES would like to thank Outland and Windigo for holding on-site Job Fairs for our clients. We were able to make some great matches for our clients. YES is here to help with your recruiting needs. Hosting a Job Fair at YES provides another way to attract new staff members. In addition, there may be training incentives available if you hire eligible clients. Reach out to our Employer Relations team for more information: 807-623-0768,

Reaching out to our Community

YES was at the Valhalla Inn on February 15th for the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and Anishnawbe Business Professional Association’s Prosperity Northwest conference.
YES was on-site at St. Patrick High School on February 17th sharing information about our Youth Job Connection Summer Program. If you want more information connect with Lindsay or Natalie by calling 807-623-0768, or e-mail:


We love to celebrate all the Youth Job Connection participants who complete their pre-employment training. Now their graduations include a hearty lunch thanks to the generosity of Eat Local Pizza. We so appreciate that Eat Local is helping us celebrate the success of young people in our community!

Staff Profiles

Meet Samantha.

A little bit about my role at YES: I am a Career Development Practitioner here at YES Employment Services. When I meet up with a client, I create a pleasant and welcoming environment for every visitor to our organization. I sit with you in an intake appointment and get to know and learn what resources are best fit for your needs.

During my time off: I enjoy the outdoors and making time for friends and family.

A fun fact you may not know about me: I enjoy face painting.

Meet Riley.

About my role at YES:

I am a Career Development Practitioner. We help connect barriered and non- barriered individuals with employers within the community and help clients navigate the local job market. We also help connect eligible individuals with funding so that they can improve their skills and employment prospects!

During my time off, I like to:

Spend time with family, go out and socialize with friends, work in the addictions field, take care of my rabbit, writing/ rehearsing / performing music, studying history, and playing paintball.

A fun fact you may not know about me is:

I play guitar, violin and sing in local Celtic punk band, The Bay Street Bastards, play guitar in Ramones tribute act Psycho Therapy as well as lending a hand…or voice to other musical projects!

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