Harrisburg Youth Say “Y.E.S.” to Entrepreneurship

One of the most impactful gifts this country gives its citizens is the ability to become entrepreneurs. While it is a tremendous task, the benefits are there — one can pursue their passions and provide a legacy for their families and communities. Joshua Barker, a serial entrepreneur, wants to promote entrepreneurship to more people and he is starting with teens.

In Barker’s Y.E.S. program, which aptly stands for Young Entrepreneurs Series, students meet entrepreneurs and learn building trades. They even earn money!

I recently had a quick chat with Barker to learn more about his program.

Harrisburg Buzz: How does the Y.E.S. program work? How long is the program?

Joshua Barker (JB): The Y.E.S. Program has a few steps. First it introduces youth between the ages of 13 to 17 to entrepreneurship and project-based learning. Learning skills they can use no matter where they go. Carpentry, painting, agriculture are some of the skills that are taught. The program started in 2018 in East New York, Brooklyn, where I’m from, and I started it here in Harrisburg PA in 2021 as a summer Program. Currently I am doing the program in a joint project with a homeowner who bought 2 properties. The Y.E.S. Program has helped revitalize these properties to make them into affordable housing. I have taken my personal funds to help fund this training program.

Harrisburg Buzz: Who is eligible for the YES program?

JB: The program is eligible for youth ages 13-17 who attend Harrisburg public schools. Your grades are not a factor. Some students might not have the best grades but they can excel in a trade, which can turn into a lucrative career.

Harrisburg Buzz: How can a student sign up?

JB: Students can contact me at LordJBarker@gmail.com.

photo provided by Y.E.S. Program

Harrisburg Buzz: In the video you mentioned that entrepreneurship is “freedom.” What do you want students to get from entrepreneurship?

JB: Entrepreneurship for me is like freedom in the sense of being able to build and grow throw your dreams. It’s about understanding that you are taking a chance on yourself. The Freedom to change how the average person thinks and change the demographics of family thinking and generational economics.

Harrisburg Buzz: What do you envision as the future for the YES program?

JB: The Y.E.S. Program is just the starting point to the introduction of entrepreneurship. In the future many of the students will begin to work with businesses and entrepreneurs just as they do with me throughout the year.

Barker’s Y.E.S. Program is operated under Barker’s newly formed 501c3 program, B Shop Boys and Girls Club, which can accept donations and is seeking grant opportunities to expand the program to more students throughout the Harrisburg school district.  Contact Josh Barker directly at bshop_buildingdreams@yahoo.com,  to support this important program through a donation or to discuss bringing the program to your school, church or organization.

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