The Year Up program was delivered in eight metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence, the San Francisco-San Jose Bay area, Seattle, and Washington, DC). The program was delivered from a single central location in each city except for the two Bay Area offices.
Over half of participants were male (59%) and 21 to 24 years old (57%); the remaining were female (41%) and 18 to 20 years old (43%). Over half of the participants (54%) were Black, non-Hispanic, 6% were White, non-Hispanic, and 9% were another race, non-Hispanic. About one-third (31%) were Hispanic. Additionally, 99% had a high school diploma and 3% had an Associate’s degree or higher. The mean family income was $27,021.
Year Up participants receive six months of technical skills training geared at meeting the needs of the corporate partners of the program. All participants receive training in operating systems and software for word processing and learn how to use spreadsheets and create presentations. There are separate tracks for information technology, business communications, and financial operations with relevant specialized skills. The program also has college partners so participants can earn college credits for satisfactory completion of the classes they take. Following the six months of training, participants have six-month internships with corporate partners that are major corporations in the region. Throughout the experience, general professionalism is emphasized, including regular attendance, professional demeanor, timeliness, diligence (completion of work), appropriate attire, networking, and conflict management. Participants also receive a stipend (per a performance contract) and have staff advisors, social workers, peer support opportunities, and are paired with a mentor from outside the program. There is also some flexibility for sites to customize their curriculum based on local considerations.
Comparison group members were subject to a three-year embargo on Year Up participation but could receive other training and supports in the community. Each of the metropolitan areas offered alternative employment and training services that the comparison group could access. These included training at community and technical colleges, for-profit postsecondary institutions, and non-profit training providers. Examples include Job Corps, Per Scholas, Jewish Vocational Services, Center on Employment and Training, and Goodwill Industries. The study notes that many training providers offer job readiness and job placement services in conjunction with technical skills training. Others offer mentoring in the business community.
Support for implementation
Year Up receives funding from employer payments for interns; foundation grants; donations from companies and individuals; and, to a small degree, government agencies. Further, a national team supports local offices with operations, sharing information across offices, and overall implementation.