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.
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.
Without significant action, the skills gap between low-income, disconnected youth and companies seeking to fill millions of middle-skilled positions will continue to widen.
29% of participants have problems with reliable housing
33% of participants have family challenges such as a domestic crisis or experience in a foster home
Unfilled jobs cost the US $160 billion a year in lost revenue and unrealized consumer spending
Connecting young adults to hard-to-fill middle-skill jobs provides a path to a living wage and successful careers. Empowering youth to meet our nation’s labor needs will fuel economic growth and reduce social costs.
92% of graduates are employed or in school within 4 months of program completion
Participants have 40-50% higher wages, with graduates earning an average starting salary of approximately $40,000
Corporations save on recruiting costs because hires from Year Up stay on the job nearly 2.5x longer
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. Key markers of success include the following:
$40.5 million 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 2018, the first report of a long-term evaluation of Year Up’s original Core model showed that students increased initial earnings by 53% – almost $2,000 more per quarter – and sustained large positive impacts over the following year. Evaluators called this the “largest reported to date for workforce programs tested using a randomized controlled trial design.”
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.
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.
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.
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.