In May 2002, two Erie natives, Julie Krumpe Groenendaal and Keith Overfield, co-founded Young Erie Professionals, also known as yep! Julie and Keith established the organization because many of their peers departed the region in search of better career opportunities and more vibrant cities. Julie and Keith were determined to retain young professionals to the Erie area. Their goal was to create an organization dedicated to providing its members with the opportunity to network professionally with peers, while actively participating in their community.
The Young Erie Professionals and The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership announced on November 5th, 2015 that they have merged. It was unanimously approved by both organizations so that through our new collaboration; we will work together to advance the region's efforts in job retention, entrepreneurship, professional development, and engagement.
Since then, yep! has grown to have more than 300 members and newsletter distribution to over 1,200 recipients, helping many young professionals find reasons to stay in the Erie area – reasons such as leadership roles on nonprofits boards, job opportunities, career and social networking avenues, educational seminars, open-minded discussion and fun ways to connect to others in the community.
"I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you and yep!'s efforts. I found employment by attending just one (my first but not last) yep! function. Unfortunately it has been the only function that I've had time to attend. Since then I have gotten involved with a volunteer organization (CASA) and a part time job. Knowing that there is yep! and people like you who have ambition to make Erie a place not only to visit but a place to grow and thrive, has helped me battle my fears about moving to Erie. Fears that Erie was just yet another city among the many cities of PA that are declining due to the lack of progress. I intend to stay connected with yep! and upcoming events. I have faith that one day a Happy Hour will fall on a day when I don't have volunteer training or work!!!! Keep up the good work."
"It’s really great being a member of yep! because of all the good things the organization does year round for many non-profits and the great chance to network with people our own age. I go to a lot of events with older people and it’s not the same as being with a group of peers that share some of the same experiences!"
Denise Kolivoski, committee member of yep! marketing