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When Yasin Gunay first met Leah Hecht, a Starbridge Prevocational Employment Counselor, he was sure of one thing: he wanted to work in Information Technology (IT).

After graduating high school with an IEP diploma several years ago, Yasin worked a number of places. As he recalls:

“I was working a lot of dead-end positions. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. I decided I wanted to go to school. I went to BOCES and in 8 months I passed the TASC (to earn a high school equivalency diploma). It was the best decision I ever made to go back to school.”

Yasin web Yasin then went to Monroe Community College for an IT certification program. While he was there, a tutor recommended he try getting some hands-on experience through an internship.

Yasin’s vocational counselor at ACCES-VR, Michelle Bowman, connected him with us.

Starbridge’s YES Internship Program offers youth and adults a way to gain paid work experience in a career that interests them. Our counselors search for area businesses that are willing to provide structured internships, and support both the interns and employers in making the most of the internship.

Leah Hecht recalls, “I worked with Yasin for quite a few months, trying to find him an internship related to computers. Neither of us knew how difficult that would end up being. There were plenty of times where we had felt we hit a wall.

On top of being determined, Yasin was always kind and patient with the entire process. One day I stumbled across a possible opportunity. When it was confirmed that the company would take Yasin on as an intern, I was so excited to tell him!”

His first internship through YES was data entry for medical records. Yasin enjoyed the job.

His supervisor reported to Leah that Yasin did a wonderful job and left great impressions on his coworkers and supervisors. At the end of the internship, the employer wanted to hire him full-time but did not have an opening in their data entry department. Instead, they found an opening in their imaging department.

Yasin started his new job at eHealth Technologies on Monday, May 14.

Leah says, “After everything we went through to find this internship opportunity, it felt like a win when he was able to get a full time job with benefits as a result!”

When asked if he had any advice for anyone else who was trying to find the right job, Yasin said:

“Keep plugging away. Don’t give up. It took time but I kept going.”