Year Up

Empower millions of youth currently “disconnected” from employment opportunities to access meaningful careers that enable them to earn family sustaining wages

The Scale of the Problem

Approximately five million young people, ages 18-24, are currently unemployed or underemployed. Meanwhile, millions of corporate positions requiring some form of post-secondary education remain unfilled.

In many cases, there is a mismatch between what traditional post-secondary education providers teach and the knowledge and skills that corporations demand from the workforce. The costs are tremendous for both youth and our country.


of participants have problems with reliable housing


of participants have family challenges such as a domestic crisis or experience in a foster home


a year in lost revenue and unrealized consumer spending due to unfilled jobs

A Promising Solution

Year Up bridges the gap between the supply of young talent and the growing demand for “middle-skilled” workers. Year Up’s intensive one-year program combines hands-on skills development and coursework eligible for college credits with six-month internships with corporate partners. By helping youth gain relevant skills and experience, Year Up creates a pathway out of poverty and fills millions of open positions.


of graduates are employed or in school within 4 months of program completion


higher wages for participants, with graduates earning an average starting salary of ~$40,000


longer retention period for hires from Year Up, helping corporations save on recruiting costs

Blue Meridian’s Investment

Our four-year investment supports Year Up’s scaling of its community college-based Professional Training Corps (PTC) model. The PTC model adapts Year Up’s original approach, developed in 2000, and works with corporations and community colleges to deliver an intensive one-year program that combines hands-on skills development, college credits and internships with corporate partners. By leveraging community college infrastructure, PTC cuts costs and allows Year Up to significantly expand the number of students served annually. Additionally, our investment supports Year Up’s efforts to pilot new initiatives to scale their impact even further.

$40.5M invested over 4 years

Serve 6,500 students annually by 2020

Grow and sustain Professional Training Corps to serve 70% of Year Up students

Why We Are Excited About Year Up

Every organization in our investment portfolio is ready to embark on significant scaling and displays a multitude of strengths. Here are some highlights of the tremendous potential we saw in Year Up’s scaling strategy that motivated us to invest:

Bridging the Opportunity Divide

Young people ages 18-24 who are under- or unemployed and face other challenges, such as family problems or housing instability, are at a real crossroads in life. Without intervention, the cycle of poverty will continue to rack up billions of dollars in social costs and lost human potential.

Through its training, support and internships, Year Up has proven to successfully impact youth at this critical juncture.

In May 2021, the second ten-year evaluation report on Year Up’s original Core model was released. The findings show that Year Up participants sustain annual earning gains of $7,000 – $8,000 over five years – an increase of 30-40%. The report’s cost-benefit analysis finds that Year Up delivers a return to society of $1.66 for every dollar spent over a five-year period. Evaluators have noted Year Up’s earnings impacts as the largest reported to date for workforce programs tested using a randomized controlled trial design.

Sustainable Economics

Year Up has a promising path toward sustainability by scaling the lower-cost PTC model and collecting revenue from the private sector.

Year Up enjoys strong relationships with its growing cadre of corporate partners, which pay fees to host interns. These corporations value Year Up for providing a well-trained workforce and a cost-effective way to meet their talent needs.

Year Up uses growth capital to seed the opening of new PTC sites co-located at community colleges. Once a PTC site reaches break-even service levels, it can sustainably operate on corporate fee revenue alone.

Inspired Leadership

Year Up CEO and Founder Gerald Chertavian is a visionary leader who has created a high-performance culture.

Gerald founded Year Up after a successful career in business—including selling a growing company he co-founded—to combine his entrepreneurial skills with his passion for working with young adults.

Year Up’s strong leadership team has a data-driven mindset and pushes for excellence in all of its initiatives, leading to Year Up’s recognition by Fast Company and The Monitor Group as one of the top 25 organizations using business excellence to engineer social change.

About Year Up

Year Up bridges the gap between young adults seeking a pathway to well-paying professional careers, and companies eager for a well-trained workforce and a cost-effective way to meet their talent needs. Its intensive one-year training program offers hands-on skills development, coursework eligible for college credits and corporate internships designed to prepare young adults, ages 18-24, for “middle-skill” positions.

Since its founding in 2000, Year Up has served more than 19,500 young adults, partnered with more than 250 corporations, and expanded to operate 25 campuses across the country.

Learn more about Year Up

Gerald Chertavian

Chief Executive Officer

Gerald Chertavian, CEO, founded Year Up in 2000 after careers on Wall Street and as a tech entrepreneur. His book, A Year Up, is a New York Times bestseller. Chertavian earned a BA from Bowdoin College and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and serves on the board of the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative. He is an Emeritus Trustee of Bowdoin College and the Boston Foundation.

The 7-Second Resume

Young adults without a traditional resume have trouble getting their foot in the door. Year Up’s Grads of Life initiative took an innovative approach to helping young people translate their life experiences to suit the needs of modern recruiters.

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