About us

Project beginnings

The idea for Youth Connect (now Youth Connect Foundation) was sparked in late 2007 after Patrick Kearns and a team of researchers investigated youth employment in Mae Sot. After conducting more than 380 interviews with employers, students, parents, school and government officials over the course of three months, the team came back with the following conclusions:

  • Businesses in Mae Sot needed more reliable, trained employees.
  • Youths in Mae Sot needed more opportunities for quality employment.
  • Youth did not have the skills or qualifications to access higher-quality jobs – especially basic math, Thai language and life skills.
  • There was a lack of decent jobs for youth in Mae Sot without these skill sets.

A program to bridge the gap between youth and employers

Five months later, Patrick founded Youth Connect with funding from Child’s Dream.

Using the findings from the research, Youth Connect moved forward with a mission to tackle each of these problems with a comprehensive new program. Transitions addresses all of these issues by serving as a bridge between the employers and youths, offering educational and vocational training opportunities. The Transitions program is a four-pronged approach, offering:

  • in-school training in maths, Thai and life skills
  • 12-week intensive training courses leading up to 3-month apprenticeships
  • a career center
  • job opportunities

For more information about the program, visit our Transitions Program page.

Growing numbers of staff and clients

Since its inception, Youth Connect has seen remarkable growth in staff and clients served. In its first year, Youth Connect served 53 students; in its third, it served about 300. Youth Connect’s initial staff of 5 has grown to more than 30 in 5 years as well as the organization has transitioned into Youth Connect Foundation.


Volunteers also serve Youth Connect Foundation’s students by offering administrative support, short courses and English classes. Join our team today!