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Year Up Announces Increasing Return on Investment and Sustained $8,000 Earnings Gains for Young Adults

May 28, 2024

New federally-sponsored study by Abt Associates shows $2.46 return to society as a whole for every $1 invested in Year Up and program’s protective impact on earnings during COVID-19

“This report confirms that Year Up provides tremendous, long-term value not only to our students but to society at large,” said Year Up Founder and CEO Gerald Chertavian.

Boston, MA (PR NEWSWIRE) May 17, 2022

The nonprofit Year Up announced today the results of a new report by Abt Associates showing the program’s net benefits to society grows larger each year. Over a seven-year study period, every $1.00 spent on Year Up produced a $2.46 benefit to society — up from $1.66 in the last report, which covered only five years.

Large, continuing earnings gains for Year Up participants drove the increase. Young adults (ages 18-24) assigned to the Year Up group continued to see sustained average annual earnings gains of nearly $8,000 relative to young adults assigned to a control group and directed to other community programs.

The earnings gains persisted throughout the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, which has had a disproportionate economic impact on young people of color, Year Up’s student demographic. Greater access to jobs in Information Technology, Business and Financial Services was key to maintaining or increasing pre-pandemic earnings impacts for treatment compared to control group members.

“This report confirms that Year Up provides tremendous, long-term value not only to our students but to society at large,” said Year Up Founder and CEO Gerald Chertavian.

Researchers found that Year Up’s long-term earnings impacts are among the highest ever reported across all racial and ethnic groups; however, its impacts for Black and Hispanic/Latino individuals — who comprise the majority of Year Up students — are lower than those for non-Black, non-Hispanic participants. 

“Year Up must build on its success and continue broadening its role with employers to help ensure our graduates can fulfill their potential throughout their careers,” said Chertavian. “Forward-thinking leaders recognize that equitable recruitment, retention, and advancement practices are critical to maintaining top-performing businesses.”

The study also found that Year Up participants were more likely to have jobs offering a full array of benefits, including health insurance, paid vacation holidays and sick days, as well as retirement or pension benefits — benefits that can add a significant amount to participants’ overall compensation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2021, benefit costs accounted for 29.5 percent of employers’ total compensation costs for private industry workers.

“The latest findings attest to the remarkable staying power of Year Up’s benefits,” said Abt’s David Fein, the lead study author. “Our report also offers a series of suggestions for increasing equity and scale in future iterations of the program. The study is an example of how a rigorous evaluation can help both to prove a program’s success and guide its improvement.”

In Year Up’s yearlong program model, participants receive six months of in-demand technical and professional skills training at no cost, followed by a six-month internship at a leading company such as JPMorgan Chase, Salesforce, and AT&T.

Students earn an educational stipend and college credits throughout the year, and receive wrap-around support services to help them complete the rigorous program. Nationwide, 80 percent of Year Up graduates are employed or attending college within four months of completing the program.

Year Up is one of nine programs Abt evaluated for the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.

To read the full report, visit:

Abt’s full portfolio of findings on Year Up can be found at:

About Abt Associates

Abt Associates is a global consulting and research firm that uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people's lives. From combatting infectious disease and conducting rigorous program evaluations, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing - and more - Abt partners with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges.