Kenya Youth Employment and Skills Program (K-YES)

What's New?

Stories from the Field: Strength of a Woman and Inspiring Career Choices from K-YES Project

K-YES is entering Phase II and expanding into four new counties

K-YES Training Is Game Changer to Young Nairobi Entrepreneur

When Benard Kabuu a attended business training sponsored by Kenya Youth Employment and Skills Program (K-YES) early this year, he only expected to learn how to manage his business. “I was only interested in basic tips on how I could manage the business,” he said. ‘Little did I know that I could be empowered with information on how to generate capital for expanding the business.” MORE

Applying PYD Principles in Youth Programs: Early Learnings from YouthPower Projects

Webinar for USAID and youth program implementers, July 26, 2017.

Giving Youth a New Chance in Kenya

Interview with Silvano Ateka, Communications Officer, Kenya Youth Employment and Skills Program (K-YES) by Maria Brindlmayer, Senior KM Specialist, YouthPower Learning. 

Read the full interview here.


Short Documentary about the Program

Prime Implementer

Research Triangle Institute (RTI)

Implementing Partners

Key Partners:

International Rescue Committee
Land O’Lakes International
McKinsey & Company
Mobile Accord
National Youth Bunge Association
SSG Advisor

Implementing Partner:
Research Triangle Institute

Project Timeline

2015 - 2020

Project Goals

Enhance the employability of Kenyan youth
Increase wages and self-employment for underemployed youth who have not completed secondary school
Increase youth workforce competitiveness
Increase private sector engagement in and development of youth employment programming and job placement

Activity Locations:

Bungoma, Garissa, Kericho, Kisii, Kwale, Migori, Nairobi, Nyeri, and West Pokot counties 

Brief Background

The majority of Kenya’s population is under the age of 17 and struggling to find meaningful employment.  This untapped demographic dividend of young Kenyans moving into their productive working years presents public and private sector stakeholders with both a challenge and an opportunity.  

USAID’s K-YES activity gives motivated but disenfranchised youth the skills and support they need to compete and succeed in the workplace.  The activity connects young Kenyans to youth-friendly services (e.g., labor market information, financial institutions, and 21st century employability skills), allowing them to make informed and empowered decisions about their careers.  With skills and vocational training designed in coordination with local industry, K-YES focuses on building local relationships and capacity to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of education and employment outcomes.

Overview of Activities

K-YES fosters partnerships between young people and the private sector to design and develop mutually beneficial vocational training for increased economic competitiveness and better jobs. The activity offers a fast-track to employment for youth (ages 18-35) who do not have a high school diploma.  K-YES program objectives include: 
  • Improved technical and vocational skills training
  • Targeted opportunities for entrepreneurship
  • Increased access to financial services, labor market information and career guidance
  • Gender equitable approaches to employment
  • Sustainability through partnership

Expected Impact:

  • K-YES has set ambitious goals. By the end of program, 30,000 young people in the nine target counties will have improved market-relevant job and business skills. Fifty-four workforce service providers will have increased capacity to provide sector-specific trainings in response to market demands.
  • Seventy percent of participants will be employed within the first six months after completing the vocational training program. More than 300,000 youth will gain access to youth-friendly financial services, up-to-date youth labor market information, and youth mentorship networks.
  • Finally, over100 new public-private partnerships in key sectors will be established in the nine target counties to accelerate the goals and overall impact of the program.


Since 2015, K-YES has:

  • Offered more than  173,342 youth access to youth-friendly financial services, market-relevant job and business skills, up-to-date labor market information and youth mentorship networks
  • Supported more than  24,883 youth to gain new or better employment
  • Established 81 new public-private partnerships in key sectors, increasing value for both youth employment outcomes and businesses


Kenya Youth Employment and Skills (K-YES) Program
Joyce Wafula
Research Triangle Institute
Email: or
Tel: +254 72 222 4183

Facebook: KYES Project
Twitter: @kyesproject