The search for your first job can be intimidating. Now imagine growing up in areas where a good-paying job, the tools to get it, and the motivation for it all are hard to come by.

That’s where Y.O.U. steps in for youth in Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Lake Counties.

Aaron Cartledge, who finished the program in July, says the program is making a big difference, “It had a huge impact because I would never have even thought this was a possibility if I didn’t get into the program”

The non-profit offers programs for high school students and young professionals to find the career that’s right for them.

Aaron chose phlebotomy, and after a six-week program, is already drawing blood at the Cleveland Clinic’s main campus. It's an opportunity he says has been life-changing. “It feels great. Like when I go in and talk to the patients, and ask them how they’re doing and anything I can do to make them feel better. Just it feels good”.

He says he was practicing blood draws on the third-day of the program. But whether he realized it or not, he was learning other skills that will take him farther than a clean draw ever will.

“But the other thing we’re trying to do is just to make sure that when the youth shows up at the job, that they understand the importance of showing up on time, the importance of looking someone in the eye, the importance of what they wear to work.”

Those skills are taught in the first two-weeks of the training program. Once the six weeks are over, Y-O-U works with its area partners to get participants in an internship, and eventually into a career. And though phlebotomy wasn’t Aaron's first choice, he does say it has pleased his biggest fan, “my mom was always like ‘you gonna be a doctor’.”

In fact, Aaron says eventually he wants to go back to school for nursing. “Y-O-U” also offers programs in IT, manufacturing, and customer service. To learn more about "Y-O-U", please visit their website.