Linking Students to Careers


Official Statements From Your Future Is Our Business

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In response to growing concerns regarding COVID-19, Coronavirus, and official guidance from the Santa Cruz County Public Health, we are devastated to announce that Your Future Is Our Business’ 19th Annual Business and Education Luncheon scheduled for Friday, March 13th, 2020 has been canceled.

Santa Cruz County Public Health advises “canceling large in-person meetings and conferences of about 50 people or more with prolonged close contact”. This decision was made in consultation with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the State of California.

The health, safety and well-being of our community is our top priority. We are committed to doing our part to help protect our staff, attendees, and community. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation. We understand the gravity of the situation for all guests, vendors, students, educators, and other community partners that planned on attending.  

Although our March Luncheon event will not take place this year, we will continue to strive toward our mission of helping students to discover a successful and fulfilling career in their future.  We will be sending out a newsletter to announce and honor the scholarship winners. Please be checking our website to view the excellent scholarship winner applications and Public Service Announcement Video created by Santa Cruz County students.  YFIOB is grateful to partner with a community that gives such strong support to our students as they explore their futures.

Dear YFIOB and LINK partners,

Your Future Is Our Business, along with our entire community, places the health and well-being of our community above all else. School District Superintendents and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education have decided in concurrence with the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency to close all public Santa Cruz County schools through the 2020 school year. YFIOB partners with schools throughout Santa Cruz County and accordingly, we will not be providing any in-person career exploration activities or programs. However, we will continue our radio show/podcast What To Be which is a free, valuable online resource that provides a way for students to hear an information interview with a different person each week and learn about the variety of careers that exist. We encourage those who want to be involved in our organization to sign up to be guests on the show and sharing their career knowledge by emailing We will continue to carefully monitor the developing response to the coronavirus and make decisions in alignment with our partners, the schools and school districts. We value all that you do for our community, our youth, and we look forward to engaging you in opportunities as soon as possible.

Be well,
Mary Gaukel Forster
Executive Director
Your Future Is Our Business

Transitions are wonderful opportunities to reflect and celebrate.  My pathway with Your Future Is Our Business began as a board member, moving to Executive Director, and now transitioning to Education Partnership Director.  As I look back at the past 4 years, as Executive Director, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities, the experiences, and all of the amazing and inspiring board members, community members, educators, and students that I met on the YFIOB path.  I had the opportunity to expand Career Expos to College and Career Expos and to increase the number of high schools served.  With the support of the YFIOB Board of Directors, middle school Career Exploration Workshops, Elementary School Career Experiences, and Parent Career Education Nights were added to our services.  A powerful radio show/podcast, “What To Be”,  was initiated and now provides important career exploration during a time of school closures.  Dearest to my heart was instituting our college intern program.  I was privileged to work with over 20 college students who interned to promote our organization and to provide career exploration experiences for students.  To see 4th through 12th grade students engaging in conversation with these bright, dedicated, talented students was an honor.  Your Future Is Our Business has become a full circle organization providing career exploration for elementary to high school students while providing career exploration, resume building, and networking for college interns.  I feel so fortunate!  I am excited to share that our intern program has provided us with our next Executive Director, Malina Long.  She began as an administrative/event planning intern, became executive director intern, then associate director, and now our very own, “grown at home”, Executive Director!  

With love and appreciation for YFIOB and all who serve and who are served by this dedicated organization,
Mary Gaukel Forster

I have had the incredible privilege of working with Mary over these past few years and have been amazed at her kindness and her incredible ability to dream big and bring people together. I am honored to be able to carry on the legacy that Mary and our former Executive Directors have put their hearts and hard work into creating.

I joined Your Future Is Our Business because I was once the student who needed an adult to show me that there was a future worth fighting for. I was born in Santa Cruz but grew up in Modesto, California. My parents are Cambodian refugees who were fortunate enough to be able to put a roof over our heads but they had limited resources and still continue to deal with the repercussions of the trauma they experienced as children. Throughout my youth, I struggled to see beyond the city limits, let alone a positive future worth living for. I felt that I had no purpose. But one experience and a handful of adults opened my eyes and provided me with the opportunity to recognize my potential and to envision a future for myself. Volunteering, interning, and engaging with people in my community gave me the hope I so desperately needed, and empowered me to see that I could make a difference in the world. Over these past few years, Your Future Is Our Business has given me the opportunity to meet incredible community members, develop additional event planning and management skills, and design an internship program and organization that empowers all youth.

While we are all going through difficult times, I hope that you will continue to support me and Your Future Is Our Business in providing students with opportunities to empower themselves and showing youth what is possible. I am excited to lead Your Future Is Our Business and I will continue to explore new ways to expand and diversify our network businesses and professionals⁠ and planning ways to continue to serve our students by transforming our programming to suit these virtual times. Engaging students who will be our next generation of workers requires us to think outside of our traditional models, requires creative solutions, and cross-collaboration.  Ultimately, it is truly your dedication to our organization and participation in our programs that keeps YFIOB alive. You show students what is possible and inspire them to keep pushing the next generation forward despite challenges. I hope that a year from now, we will have broadened students’ awareness of the possibilities that exist locally and that we all recognize every individual’s power to create change. Thank you—every single one of you⁠—who serve our community and show our youth what is possible.


Malina Long


Jaqueline Rodriguez-Villagran, Career and Technical Education Scholarship
Teresa Marina Hurtado-Tyner, Career and Technical Education Scholarship
Abigail Monroy, Career and Technical Education Scholarship
Lizeth Calederon, Career and Technical Education Scholarship
Issac Lincoln, Alan Stormes Memorial Scholarship
Freya Cranston, Ralph Peduto Memorial Scholarship
Josue Vega-Jungo, Rick Gaukel Memorial Scholarship
Jaxon Feasel, Defib This Scholarship
Eve Cunningham, Defib This Scholarship
(Click on the images below to zoom and view each page more closely)

Defib This Scholarship Video Winner 2020, Eve Cunningham

Luncheon 2020 CTE Public Service Announcement Video Winner

Student: Bodie   Teacher: Nehal Pfieffer, Biotechnology

2020 YFIOB CTE Teacher of the Year

CTE Biotechnology Instructor, Nehal Pfeiffer

Thank You To Our Incredible Sponsors!

Kristy Stormes, Winston George Whittaker, Les Forster, Mary Gaukel Forster

Thank You To Our Incredible Donors!

Janet Stormes, Progressive Benefit Group, Ernestine Jensen, Cary Cheng, Jim Bland


What We Do

We provide work-based learning opportunities like expos, panels, guest speakers and more to elementary, middle, and high school students as well as internships for post-secondary students. Students get to explore a variety of career options and interact with professionals currently working in the industry. Our goal is to provide real-world exposure and connect youth to adults who can assist youth with finding their path. Nothing is more valuable than hands-on experience.

Our Mission

Our goal 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.

Commitment to Racial and Social Equity and Inclusion

Your Future Is Our Business is committed to achieving racial and social equity through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for all members in our community. We value all qualities that make each individual who they are and we encourage every person to bring their unique perspective and experience to advance our mission of helping every student explore and find a career that is right for them. We are committed to partnering up with organizations in our community to pool resources and expand program offerings to underrepresented members. A diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace is one where all employees and volunteers, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or disability, is seen, valued, and respected. We are committed to a nondiscriminatory approach and provide equal opportunity for employment and advancement in our organization. We commit to using these practices for our organization and holding our communities and partners to the same standard.

Making a Difference

Here is a quick glance at our numbers on how we are making an impact to students and the community.

1000 +
"Links" Career Experience Providers
3500 +
Students served every year

Our Sponsors and Partners

“I joined YFIOB because I want to pay it forward - I proudly stand on the shoulders of caring adults whom joined my parents in mentoring, guiding, and empowering me to tap into my greatest potential. I know what it’s like to be connected to your community because caring adults provided an authentic space for you to use your voice and talents to make lasting change. YFIOB gives me the opportunity to be the encouraging leader cheering for our Santa Cruz County youth. I encourage young people to listen to their passion and follow it – they are the authors of their future plans and goals, be grounded in who you are and write your story!”
"THANK YOU SO MUCH!! The career panel was definitely a success and a refreshing break from the norm for my staff and students. I really appreciate everyone's time and energy on this. Malina thank you so much for organizing. We would like to arrange at least 2 panels for next year! You guys are awesome."
Tierney Long
Socio-emotional Counselor, New School Community Day School
"Our community is blessed with the only business and educational partner providing work based learning opportunities for students that I am aware of. I have had the pleasure of participating in YFIOB events since 2008 and have served on the Board for many years. All of the YFIOB Board members I have worked with have worked with have been enthusiastic and active participants. In my 12 year history with YFIOB, I have seen several Board Presidents bring their unique leadership to the organization but Mary has taken this program to another level. Her development of young adult engagement in the program was the clear direction the program needed. One of the pillars of a strong career and technical education program is that every student participates in an active work based learning program. YFIOB should be the leader in this area for all students in Santa Cruz County."
Mark Hodges
Former Senior Director, Santa Cruz County Career Technical Education Partnership

Meeting by appointment only

399 Encinal St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

TAX ID 77-0563559

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