Year Up

Empower young adults to earn family-sustaining wages and boost their economic mobility by addressing barriers to opportunity and expanding access to quality employment pathways.

The Scale of the Problem

More than 10 million young people, ages 19-29, lack access to economic opportunity and mobility pathways.  These young adults – commonly referred to as Opportunity Talent – are motivated to succeed and bring a diverse range of skills, experiences, and perspectives to the workforce, yet are often overlooked as a source of talent. Meanwhile, employers face a growing need for skilled candidates to fill in-demand roles and remain competitive, with millions of positions projected to remain unfilled.

In many cases, there is a skills mismatch between the post-secondary education and skills training required to fill in-demand jobs and the lack of access workers have to skills training needed to meet employer demand. Without access to skills training, millions are locked out of opportunities – hurting workers, companies, and the overall economy.

45%

of students experience financial challenges

55%

of students are unemployed or underemployed in low-wage, low-opportunity jobs at time of application

90%

of the young adults Year Up serves identify as a person of color

A Promising Solution

Year Up works to bridge the divide between diverse, motivated talent and the growing corporate demand for “middle-skilled” workers or workers who do not have a four-year degree but have an education beyond a high-school diploma. Year Up’s proven program combines professional and technical skills development, including coursework often eligible for college credits, with a work-based experience with one their leading employer partners. By helping young adults gain relevant skills and experience, Year Up creates opportunities for economic mobility, while simultaneously connecting employers to a pipeline of skilled talent needed for today’s in-demand jobs and those of the future.

~80%

of program graduates are employed or enrolled in postsecondary education within 4 months of completion

$46,000

average starting salary for those who are employed

2.5x

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

Blue Meridian’s Investment

Our three-year follow-on investment supports Year Up to maximize the growth potential of its direct service through more scalable, flexible and cost-effective models and to validate a complementary strategy of partnering with other training providers to assess, upskill, and provide job placement supports to the young people they serve to meet employer demand at scale.

Up to $25 million invested over 3 years

Lower direct service delivery costs and increase its scalability

Validate a path to 10x growth through a provider partnership model

Why We Are Excited About Year Up

Every organization in our Nationwide Solutions investment portfolio has embarked on significant scaling and continues to make progress toward their goals. Here are some highlights we saw for Year Up to scale its impact, which motivated us to make an additional investment:

Evidence of Impact

In 2022, the third report of a long-term evaluation of Year Up’s original Core model show earnings gains of 30% (~$8,000 per year) more than a control group are sustained over seven years. These impacts are the largest reported to date for workforce programs tested using a randomized controlled trial design.

Year Up is evaluating newer models to understand whether these core impact outcomes hold. Across all delivery channels, Year Up’s internal data shows it is exceeding employment and earnings targets.

Strong Employer Partnerships

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

Year Up has grown partnerships across geographies and lines of business, and changing the way some of our country’s largest employers think about sourcing talent. Through this work, Year Up is changing the perception of hiring Opportunity Talent from good charity to good business.

Closing the Opportunity Divide

Year Up continues to innovate in pursuit of its vision – closing the opportunity divide that keeps millions of young people from well-paying jobs.

Year Up will build on work done in the first investment phase to create lower-cost, more replicable direct services models. Year Up also seeks to validate a strategy of partnering with other training providers to assess, upskill, and match the young people they support with career-path jobs, which includes their work with employer coalition OneTen initiative.

About Year Up

Year Up is committed to ensuring equitable access to economic opportunity, education, and justice for all young adults—no matter their background, income, or zip code. Employers face a growing need for talent while millions are left disconnected from the economic mainstream. Year Up is determined and positioned to close this Opportunity Divide.

Since its founding in 2000, Year Up has served more than 36,000 young adults, partnered with more than 250 corporations, and expanded to operate more than 30 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 he 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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