Year Up Puget Sound Programs
Year Up is a national organization that has sites in 13 major cities in the U.S. and provides young adults with educational courses (for which they earn college credits) and internships in information technology, quality assurance, or finance operations with companies like Liberty Mutual and JPMorgan Chase. Over 85 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 knowledgeable 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
To date, Year Up Puget Sound has served 600 students, and our graduates are well on their way to successful careers. Since our Seattle site began serving students in March 2011, we have grown rapidly, and are excited to announce our expansion of service to Bellevue to support more opportunity youth in the Puget Sound. In 2015 we are expanding to serve another 40 students in Bellevue in 2015, in cooperation with Bellevue College, our valued academic partner. 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 and The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, as well as national trailblazers like Google and JP Morgan Chase.
We estimate that there are over 25,000 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. As we lean in to growth and work closely with our corporate and community partners, including Bellevue College, philanthropic contributions are necessary to enable us to meet market demand, helping more young adults achieve their goals and bettering the Puget Sound economy. Across Washington State, young adults lack access to opportunity, and Year Up Puget Sound is committed to expanding our reach to connect opportunity youth to companies who need talent that Year Up nurtures.