Gerald Chertavian is the Founder and CEO of Year Up, one of the nation’s most impactful workforce development organizations. Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by ensuring that all young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education.

Year Up’s strategy to close the Opportunity Divide is threefold: Serving Students and Alumni Directly; Empowering Others to Serve; and Changing Systems to Close the Opportunity Divide.

Serving Students and Alumni Directly: Moving Thousands of Young Adults from Minimum Wage to Meaningful Careers

Year Up’s direct service model supports young adults through an intensive, yearlong program composed of technical training and professional skills development, followed by an internship with one of the nation’s top employers. Young adults develop valuable, in-demand skills like project management or software development, and corporate partners gain access to a strong pipeline of talent ready to launch their careers. Year Up has conducted a series of gold-standard randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to study objectively the impact of its yearlong program. These RCTs have determined that the earnings gains of Year Up’s alumni are the largest to date for any workforce program that has been rigorously evaluated.

Empowering Others to Serve: Building a Stronger, More Inclusive Talent Marketplace

While Year Up’s direct service program delivers strong outcomes to thousands of young adults each year, there are millions of young adults and other traditionally overlooked talent across this country who are out of work, out of school, and in need of economic opportunity. In order to expand its impact, Year Up is leveraging 20 years of its intellectual property and learnings to develop new job training offerings that can reach exponentially more young adults. With the aim of serving many more individuals, Year Up’s newest initiatives will focus on enabling education and training providers to prepare more career-ready young adults while also making it easier and more efficient for employers to access and hire these talented, motivated, and diverse individuals.

Changing Systems to Close the Opportunity Divide: Realizing the Promise of Opportunity for All

In addition to driving impact through direct service and strategic partnerships with other education and training providers, Year Up is committed to addressing the root causes of the Opportunity Divide in this country. Through 20 years of partnership with America’s top employers, it’s become evident that traditional corporate talent practices often exclude diverse candidates from accessing economic opportunity and mobility. To complement the work preparing young adults for success in the workplace, Year Up launched Grads of Life to help Corporate America be successful in hiring, retaining and advancing opportunity youth and other traditionally overlooked talent. Grads of Life researches and publishes insights on best practices for employers, creates tools to support the adoption of best practices, and partners with corporations to help them become leaders in creating economic opportunity and mobility for all.

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