Year Up Programs
Year Up is a national organization that has sites in major cities – Atlanta, Boston, New York, Providence, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. – and provides young adults with educational courses (for which they earn college credits) and internships in information technology or finance operations with companies like Liberty Mutual and JPMorgan Chase. Over 70 percent of our students obtain professional positions within four months of graduation, earning an average annual salary of $30,000.
While Year Up’s program is rooted in a commitment to social justice, it also makes economic sense and serves the needs of employers. Year Up provides companies with skilled knowledge workers – employees who have technical know-how and are also able to communicate effectively, solve problems, and learn rapidly as technology changes. Our students are motivated to succeed. Their potential, once realized, will be a critical part of our economic recovery and our country’s ability to compete globally.
In addition to our direct service program, Year Up also engages in strategic efforts to improve the systems that support disadvantaged young adults. Our efforts in this area are focused on impacting the community college system, engaging in policy and advocacy work, and increasing employer engagement with and support for our target population. Through this work, we aim to close the Opportunity Divide for all young adults in our country.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In June 2009, President Barack Obama visited Year Up Washington, D.C., learned about our program, and addressed our students. During a press conference a few days later, the President spoke of Year Up’s “proven track record” of providing both the technical and social skills necessary for success in the workplace: “They’ve got a terrific placement rate after this one-year program. If there are ways that we can potentially duplicate some of those programs, then we’re going to do so.”
Year Up’s new Seattle site began serving students in March 2011. We estimate that there are 15,000 low-income youth in the Seattle area who are struggling to further their education and improve their lives. At the same time, Seattle is ranked high among U.S. cities for new economy jobs and is home to major corporations that need skilled employees. Your contribution will enable us to grow the site quickly, helping more young adults achieve their goals and bettering the Seattle economy.
To date, Year Up Puget Sound has served 120 students, and our 13 pioneer graduates are well on their way to successful careers. We will double in size over the summer of 2012, and our class beginning in August of 2012 will be 80 students strong. Our dedicated staff and leadership have long histories of building healthy and sustainable organizations, and are dedicated to successful student outcomes. Our corporate partners include local business leaders like Alaska Airlines, The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Pop Cap Games as well as national trailblazers like Google and JP Morgan Chase.