Year Up

Year Up is a nonprofit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 2000 by Harvard Business School graduate Gerald Chertavian, Year Up has sites in Boston and Cambridge, New York City, Providence and Washington, D.C. and is expanding to other locations across the United States.

Year Up is a one-year, intensive training program that prepares at-risk and low-income young adults, ages 18-24 with a high school diploma or GED, in technology (IT) skills as well as business and professional skills. After a 6-month classroom component, Year Up students are placed in 6-month corporate apprenticeships with leading US corporations.


Year Up's stated mission is to "close the "opportunity divide" by preparing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through successful careers and higher education."

How it works

Year Up's "high-expectation, high-support model", combining four elements--"education, experience, support and guidance"--is the cornerstone of its educational philosophy.

During the first six months, students attend classes at one of Year Up's learning sites. Year Up students are enrolled at Cambridge College and can earn up to 18 college credits for their classwork.

Working with Cambridge College and Pace University as well as corporate partners, Year Up's team of instructors utilize a comprehensive and flexible curriculum. Classroom and project-based learning techniques that allow for group interaction and one-on-one learning are popular. Year Up instructors hold a master's degree and have been certified as college instructors.

One of the characteristics that sets Year Up apart from similar nonprofit organization is that it pays students to attend class. Students are paid a bi-weekly stipend for attending classes and their apprenticeships. The stipend is guaranteed at full value; however, a "point system" outlining various infractions controls the actual amount paid to the student. The student infractions are upon his/her own conduct and how he/she can follow the contract set by Year Up standards.

Classes taught and skills learned

Partial list of technical skills classes:

*Network support
*Operating systems
*Hardware repair

Parital list of professional and business skills classes:

*Writing skills
*Working in teams
*Time management
*Workplace norms
*Professional networking
*Introduction to business
*Communicating clearly and effectively
*Personal finance
*Conflict resolution

Support systems

Year Up surrounds its students with resources to support them during and after the program, assisting them in their transitions to careers and higher education.

*Advisors: Staff members act as student advisors, meeting with students weekly to advise them on professional and personal issues.

*Mentors: Each student is assigned a mentor from the business community to further support his or her development.

*Guest Speakers, Tutors and Job Coaches: Weekly guest presenters provide career and life perspectives and often act as part of the students' professional network. Field trips to local businesses increase the students' awareness of professional environments and opportunities. Tutors, mock interviewers and job coaches offer additional support and assistance in college applications and resume production.

Corporate partnerships

Year Up is partnered with corporations and individuals. All of the following are corporations Year Up students have completed, will complete or are engaged in a 6-month apprenticeship with:

Abt Associates · Canacord Adams · Bank of America · Bell Foundation · Blue Cross Blue Shield · Boston Medical Center · Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. · Bright Horizons · Children's Hospital · Commonwealth of Massachusetts · Dunkin' Brands · Eaton Vance · Ernst and Young · F.W. Webb · Fidelity · Goodwin Procter · Houghton Mifflin · Massachusetts Judiciary Department · Mellon · Partners HealthCare · Pegasystems · Pioneer Investments · Putnam · State Street · Stop and Shop · Lehman Brothers · Merrill Lynch · BlackRock · Hale and Dorr · J.P. Morgan

Achieving results

The impact that Year Up has made on the students and communities it serves has been measured:

Program Results:
*100% of student placement in apprenticeships
*86% graduation rate
*90+% positive student feedback
*60+ apprenticeship partners, funding 45% of operating costs
*More than 400 volunteers
*Partnership with Cambridge College and Pace University (NYC site) to grant college credit

Career placement results:
*87% of graduates placed in professional positions

Further education results:

*65% of students accepted to college
*43% currently attending college


Since 2000, Year Up has been recognized in the following sources:

Fast Company Magazine · The Christian Science Monitor · Fortune Small Business · The Boston Herald · · WCVB-Channel 5 CityLine, · The Boston Globe · Imagen Hispana Magazine · Providence Journal · Providence Business News · Commonwealth Magazine · New Century Philanthropy Magazine · Business Week · New England Political Review · Boston Metro · WCVB-Channel 5 Chronicle · Mass High Tech

Year Up has also been the recipient of awards, including:

*Fast Company and Monitor Group's "Social Capitalist" Award (January 2005, January 2007)
*The Freedom House Archie R. Williams, Jr. Technology Award (May 2005)
*The Commonwealth Corporation's Excellence in Partnership Awards: Dr. Stanley Z. Koplik Commitment to Learning Award (June 2004)
*The Manhattan Institute Social Entrepeneurship Award (Fall 2003)

Further information

* [ Year Up Online]
* [ Fast Company Social Capitalist Award press release]
* [ "Year Up helps students gear up for careers"] The Providence Journal, April 2005
* [ "Schoolyard CEO"] Fortune Small Business, March 2005
* [ "Offering a way back to hopes of college"] Christian Science Monitor, December, 2004
* [ "Workforce insights"] June, 2004
* [ "Climbing up to careers"] The Boston Globe, May, 2004
* [ "Movin' on up"] Commonwealth Magazine Winter, 2003

Related links

* City Year

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