Director, YouthSource & Education Department
Ana Aguirre is Director of the YouthSource & Education Department (YSED). YSED operates youth workforce development initiatives in three areas: Pacoima/San Fernando, East Hollywood, and Pico-Union, and serves over 600 youth annually, providing case management, college and career support, academic services, and personal development opportunities. The frameworks used to support youth utilize trauma-informed practices and a youth-centered approach, both incorporating a strength-based perspective. The values of the department are knowledge, empathy, and youth-centered, and the overall goals are academic success and placement into employment, college, and careers, with the long-term goal of self-sufficiency.
Ana joined Youth Policy Institute in 2008 as a Parent Facilitator under the Carol M. White Physical Education grant. In January 2013, Ana joined the YouthSource & Education Department as the Program Manager, where she managed the operations of the Northeast San Fernando Valley YouthSource Center and programming centered on re-engagement, workforce development, academic support, leadership development, case management, enrichment, and supportive services for opportunity youth, ages 15-24. She moved into the position of Assistant Director in September 2013, where she supported the expansion of the department to two additional youth centers in East Hollywood and Pico-Union. Each center offering programming to out-of-school youth, foster youth, court-involved youth, pregnant and parenting teens, and youth in need of academic and supportive services. She became Director for the department in January 2015.
Ana is deeply committed to access to education and careers as a means to break cycles of poverty among youth. She grew up in an immigrant working class family, and faced similar challenges and barriers to education and opportunity as the communities YPI serves. Specifically, she is an advocate for youth who are traditionally underserved and overlooked in our educational systems, both from a programmatic and policy perspective. Education has opened up doors for Ana that would not have otherwise been available, so she hopes to work to empower other youth and support their educational goals and opportunities.
Ana is currently working on her Master’s in Public Administration at the University of Southern California. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University in International Relations and Spanish.