Year Up 


Year Up is an intensive one-year education and job training program for urban youth ages 18 to 24. We serve predominantly low-income, minority students who need help bridging the “Opportunity Divide” – the divide that exists between those who have access to support, education, and resources, and those who do not. Year Up increases students’ ability to obtain livable-wage careers, provides a pathway for students to continue their education, and builds productive social networks for urban youth.

Mission Statement
Year Up seeks to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. We achieve this through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, college credit, and internships to place these young adults on a path to economic self-sufficiency.
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Year Up
93 Summer Street 
(617) 542-1533 

Gerald Chertavian 
Founder and Chief Executive Officer 


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.


Year Up is starting an affiliate in Seattle to serve the 15,000 urban young adults, ages 18-24, who have graduated from high school or have a GED, but remain out of work and out of school. Year Up is addressing the opportunity divide by increasing access to family wage jobs, providing a pathway to postsecondary education and building social networks for young adults.

Proven Success
Their one-year training program consists of six months of classroom experience and six months in corporate internships. Coursework covers both technical skills and skills in personal behavior. After completing the training, students are placed in internships with firms like JPMorgan Chase, Partners HealthCare, Liberty Mutual and State Street.

Students receive ongoing support from tutors, mentors and advisors. They also receive support with job placement, career development and college applications.

Year Up is in the process of hiring their initial Executive Director this spring and recruiting and launching their first class of 24 students in March 2011. Their goal is to serve 160 students annually by the end of the third year.

To date, Year Up has directed their efforts toward securing partnerships with local community colleges and corporations and securing funding to support the startup.

Financial Health
To launch a new program site, Year Up specifies a certain amount of funding be raised before the site opens to help ensure adequate funding over the first three years of growth. Year Up has raised $300,000 to meet their $1.4M startup match for the Seattle affiliate. They continue to work with donors and other foundations to raise funds.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

6/10/2012 $75,000.00support Year Up's launching of program in Seattle. Year three of three - this is a multi-year pledge of $225,000.
6/10/2011 $75,000.00support Year Up's launching of program in Seattle. Year two of three - this is a multi-year pledge of $225,000.
6/10/2010 $75,000.00support Year Up's launching of program in Seattle. Year one of three - this is a multi-year pledge of $225,000.
6/27/2008 $5,000.00support general operating expenses.


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