Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) helps high-risk youth get a taste of working life, gain self-confidence and learn new skills through a complete employment readiness programme. This projects aims to strengthen social inclusion, reduce youth delinquency and unemployment.

Based in New Orleans, the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) is an important community-based organisation in Louisiana, providing support for vulnerable youth through education, training and mentorships. YEP’s partnership with the Trafigura Foundation led to the creation of the Trafigura Work and Learn Center (W&L Center) in 2013, an employment readiness training programme aimed at 16to 24 year-olds.

The training opportunities on offer focus on boosting young people’s employability through the acquisition of hard and soft skills. Participants can hone their CV-writing and interview skills in job application workshops, and gain work experience in YEP’s small businesses.

Bike works, a bicycles repair shop, is the longest established of the businesses and completed its fifth year of operations in 2018, recording robust sales and providing many free bicycles to YEP youth. Design works, a digital media studio, opened in September 2016 and has worked with some impressive clients such as the National Basketball Association. Thrift works, a retail resale shop, completed its first year of operations in December 2017. YEP works with business partners to place its beneficiaries in internships and jobs after the completion of the programme.

Young people receive an educational stipend while developing their employability skills in YEP’s businesses and benefit from additional support from YEP staff who help them access mental and physical healthcare, education services and housing.

The services provided by W&L Center to New Orleans’ underserved and at-risk youth is invaluable, equipping young people with the resources, skills and opportunities they need to harness their full potential. Over the years 2016-2018, YEP trained 333 youths, supported the professional exposure through work experiences of 141 trainees and helped 194 to find and employment. One of them is Ishman, 21, who now works as a full-time employee at Queork, a company that creates luxury hand-crafted products from cork trees. “Going through YEP helped me a lot in getting up the ladder and sticking to my dreams. It was a positive step forward,” says Ishman.

In partnership with the Trafigura Foundation until 2020, YEP will serve an additional 250 youth with the aim of connecting 170 of them to workforce development opportunities and placing 100 in part or full-time employment. Our support to YEP also aims to strengthen its sustainability as an organisation and ensuring a bright future for the communities that depend on its crucial services.

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Key Figures


youths completed YEP training


found a job


youths exposed to a working experience

333 youths completed YEP training
194 found a job
141 youths exposed to a working experience

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