Faces of ACC: Shao Yeung


Shao Yeung is the Director of Employer Engagement and Apprenticeship Programs at ACC. Photo by Shao Yeung.

Shao Yeung is the Director of Employer Engagement and Apprenticeship Programs at Arapahoe Community College. She has always been interested in helping people become healthy members of society and the workforce. There can be various barriers to finding and keeping employment, and Yeung has ran into many during her career. But Yeung doesn’t stop until she finds a way to make a difference in overcoming those challenges.

 Yeung started out going to school for psychology and sociology. She earned a master’s in sociology from the University of Amsterdam;  specializing in gender, sexuality, and society with a focus on immigration and integration. 

After completing her master’s degree, she found herself teaching a GED program to people that had been formerly incarcerated, as well as helping them find sustainable employment. However, she soon came to notice that finding jobs that paid enough to keep these individuals out of the justice system was a barrier. 

Yeung wondered, “How do we break down those barriers?”

So, she then found a job as a career counselor with the Arapahoe Douglas Workforce Center. Here, she again worked with individuals that had been formerly incarcerated, as well as the general public.

“I got a good understanding of economic development, what jobs were in demand within our area, and what made sense, and what/how can people enter into these fields” said Yeung.

But from there, Yeung ran into yet another barrier. 

Yeung said, “When applying to jobs, they’re asking for two to three years experience. You might not have that to enter into the field that you’re interested in.”

But Yeung didn’t give up. She found herself asking the same question: “So how do we break down those barriers?”

She then applied for the Workplace Learning Program Manager position at ACC that got her to the position she now holds today.

Yeung said, “I applied for that position because I really wanted to create and develop these programs where people could get the experience, and break down those barriers and have less of a barrier to entry to an occupation and to get the experience and to find sustainable wages.”

Here, Yeung was finally able to find a position that enabled her to really make a change to the barriers people of all backgrounds face in the job industry today. She helped create the Medical Assisting Apprenticeship Program, where employers often pay for students to study as their future employees and also offer them paid employment while they train.

According to Yeung, “They were able to get the experience that they were interested in, in the field that they were interested in at the same time, getting national certification, so even if they left Colorado or wherever, they could take that with them and work wherever they needed to. And it was just a good fit.”

Yeung has worked at ACC for five years now, where she won an award for Outstanding Mentor recognition from the Colorado Workforce Development Council in 2019. She has grown from her position as Workplace Learning Program Manager to Director of Employer Engagement and Apprenticeship Programs. 

“I’ve been loving the work ever since because we get to develop these programs that really help transform people’s lives,” said Yeung.