What? The Resource Key Featured Brand this week is Yes I Can Unity Through Music and Education (YIC).
Who? YIC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Santa Clarita, CA. YIC provides career skills training and employment services to individuals with disabilities to assist them in developing the skills they will need to secure a career within the entertainment industry earning a competitive wage. The Yes I Can program was started by Bret Lieberman, Founder and Executive Director of YIC, along with his partner Kirsten Fitzpatrick as Deputy Director.
Why did The Resource Key want to feature YIC? According to The Ruderman Family Foundation, while 20% of the U.S. population has a disability, fewer than 2% of all television characters do. It is imperative that people with disabilities are included in the entertainment industry. YIC “helps individuals with disabilities obtain real-world experience and skills within the entertainment industry that will aid them in securing meaningful careers earning livable wages, improving their quality of life and increasing their independence.”
Social Impact? Authentic representation can be achieved by ensuring people with disabilities are in front of the camera and behind the cameras in roles ranging from actors, producers, choreographers, audio engineers, makeup artists, casting managers, voice-over artists, to name a few roles. YIC provides the following valuable supports for students:
- Students receive comprehensive training in 21st Century Career skills taught by YIC’s Masters level educators
- Partnerships with a variety of educational institutions
- Paid Internship Program (PIP) to gain work experience aligned with entertainment employers
- Guest speaker sessions where students can network and learn from industry professionals and hiring managers.
- Industry partnerships with direct access to industry internship/job opportunities.
“YIC believes individuals with disabilities should have the same right as non-disabled individuals to have access to a full range of available employment opportunities and to earn a living wage in a job of their choosing based on their talents, skills, and interests.”
— Yes I Can Unity Through Music and Education (YIC)