Our Story

Your Future Is Our Business was formed in 1993 by a Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce education committee. Ever since, our mission is to provide every Santa Cruz County student with opportunities to discover a fulfilling and successful career. In the modern, shifting workplace, students need to make informed decisions that empower them to forge careers. We bring schools and businesses together to support students in becoming Santa Cruz County’s next generation of workers. It’s all about providing young people clear direction in their lives.

Our Work

We implement work-based learning, the educational strategy providing students with real-life experiences and the opportunity to improve their academic and technical skills, while developing their employability. Our work includes building a countywide network of community leaders and businesses who see the talent and potential in our students. With this incredible support, we host monthly career panels and expos at various schools, ranging from K-12th grade. Students receive a real-world setting along with practical advice on planning a career path. We are fully staffed by college interns, supervised by a part-time executive director, all coordinating together to successfully run a non-profit organization.

Today, students who have participated in our programs can be found throughout the county, working in every industry. It’s likely that you’ve worked with them, employed them, received the benefits of their talents, or availed yourself of their professional services. We’re proud of the students who we have inspired to follow their dreams to great careers. We have heartfelt appreciation to all the businesses and professionals who have given their time to guide our youth.

OUR Staff

MARY GAUKEL-FORSTER

MARY GAUKEL-FORSTER

Executive Director

Our talented and energetic college interns have brought new ideas, initiatives, and organization to our mission. I celebrate that Your Future Is Our Business provides work based learning opportunities for college interns as they contribute back to the community. Your Future Is Our Business supports the future of students and our county. I am truly grateful to be doing this work with our college interns.

INTERN STAFF

Addison Fonseca

Outreach and Marketing

Goal(s) for YFIOB:
Create a space where the community feels they can make a positive impact in student’s lives. The resources are in the community, and it’s our job to make sure they are utilized for our students.

Morgan Matias

Marketing
San Francisco State University

Goal(s) for YFIOB:
I believe giving students the opportunity to explore their future before graduation will lead to generations of success. That’s why I am so driven to make LINK a common tool for our community.

Eric Hernandez Barraza

Outreach and Marketing
San Jose State University

Goal(s) for YFIOB:
To build a strong network of community partners willing to help empower the next generation workforce. I believe our organization is fortunate to live in a community with the desire and passion to help one another.

Jack Lento-Edrich

Database Design
UCSC

Goal(s) for YFIOB:
To build a comprehensive tool to allow the youth of Santa Cruz county to attain their career goals.

Malina Long

Operations and Event Coordination
UCSC

Goal(s) for YFIOB:
To help facilitate educational opportunities for students and provide them with new connections and opportunities to interact with local businesses and their communities.

Sabrina Waldie

Operations
Cabrillo Community College

Goal(s) for YFIOB:
Drive YFIOB to become a destination for internship, guide young adults towards potential occupation opportunities, Aide local companies and organizations in finding the best fit intern.

Carlos Alcala

Website Maintenance
CSU Monterey Bay

Goal(s) for YFIOB:
To ensure the content of the YFIOB/LinkTool website is well-structured and give the youth an interactive tool that helps guide them to their future careers.

Career Coordinators

LAURA PEDUTO

Board of Directors

tish-denevan

TISH DENEVAN

Human Resources
Santa Cruz Seaside Company

WINSTON WHITTAKER

Architect / Designer
Whittaker Building Design

teresa-thomae

TERESA THOMAE

Director
Small Business Development Center

Michael Marheineke

Sales at GraniteRock

nikki-holtzinger

NIKKI HOLTZINGER

Branch Manager
Bay Federal Credit Union

Carolyn Auman

Territory Sales Manager at Plantronics

EMILY WHITE

R&D Project Manager, Driscoll’s

Keisha Frost

KEISHA FROST

Executive Director
United Way of Santa Cruz County

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BETSY ANDERSON

BETSY ANDERSON

Executive Director, Museo Eduardo Carrillo

Mark Hodges

MARK HODGES

Senior Director of The Regional Occupational Program (ROP)

Nisha Patel

NISHA PATEL

Principal Personnel Analyst, County of Santa Cruz

Murry Schekman

MURRY SCHEKMAN

Pajaro Valley Unified School District