In the future, every young adult will be able to reach their full potential.

Year Up's mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by ensuring that young adults gain
the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential
through careers and higher education.

Our core values guide our work:

  • Respect and value others
  • Build trust, be honest
  • Be accountable
  • Engage and embrace diversity
  • Strive to learn
  • Work hard and have fun

Our "Why"

We believe that every young adult has potential and deserves opportunity and economic justice.

Year Up is committed to ensuring equitable access to economic opportunity, education, and justice for all young adults—no matter their background, income, or zip code. Employers face a growing need for talent while millions are left disconnected from the economic mainstream. These inequities only further perpetuate the Opportunity Divide that exists in our country—a divide that Year Up is determined and positioned to close.

Our Impact Strategy

In addition to driving impact through direct service and strategic partnerships with employers, talent providers, and policymakers, Year Up is committed to addressing the root causes of the Opportunity Divide in this country and creating pathways to opportunity at broad scale. Helping to power the opportunity movement and make this work possible are two essential partnerships with Grads of Life and YUPRO Placement.

Grads of Life was created by Year Up to harness the power of the private sector in closing the Opportunity Divide. Grads of Life is mobilizing an Opportunity Employer Movement by demonstrating the benefits of hiring practices that prioritize diversity and economic equality and equipping employers with the knowledge, training and tools to hire, retain, and advance Opportunity Talent. Grads of Life researches and publishes insights on evidence-based inclusive talent practices, shifts perceptions of what constitutes talent through its media and communications platforms, and partners with employers directly to help them design and implement talent strategies that promote economic opportunity, stability and mobility for all.

YUPRO Placement is the industry-leading skills-first placement firm bringing together a purposeful workforce ecosystem that champions sourcing, recruiting, retaining, and advancing traditionally overlooked talent. Since 2014, companies of every size and sector have trusted YUPRO Placement as their preferred partner to deliver strategic, skills-based hiring solutions with access to diverse, career-ready talent from an exclusive, nationwide network of mission-aligned nonprofits and upskilling partners. Today’s top employers build diverse and inclusive workplaces with YUPRO Placement while creating pathways to upward economic mobility, because placement with social impact is better business.



Average starting annual salary of Year Up grads


Students served to date


Of graduates employed and/or enrolled in postsecondary education within 4 months of program completion


across U.S.


Corporate partner satisfaction rate


Gerald Chertavian was a successful technology entrepreneur and Wall Street banker, but it was through his many years as a Big Brother that he found his true calling. The young adults he met had immense talent; yet all too often they were stranded outside the economic mainstream. Chertavian saw that when given a fair chance, with challenging standards and high support, these young people could accomplish anything. In 2000, he dedicated his life and business expertise to closing the "Opportunity Divide," and Year Up was born.

"I am hopeful we'll build a country that sees the potential inherent in all our young people, not just the ones born in the 'right' zip codes."

Gerald Chertavian
Founder and Advisor


Year Up is a proven path for young adults
to successfully launch careers.

We rigorously evaluate our program and measure outcomes to ensure that our program is impactful.
The data are clear: Year Up works.

Learn more


Ellen McClain CEO & President, Year Up
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