Gerald Chertavian, Year Up Founder and CEO, Testifies Before the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Human Resources

Testimony before hearing on Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults to Break the Cycle of Poverty focuses on recommended reforms to education and workforce systems

May 17, 2017

The workforce development nonprofit Year Up announced that the program’s Founder and CEO, Gerald Chertavian, testified before the bipartisan Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources during a hearing on Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults to Break the Cycle of Poverty on May 17, 2017 at 10:00 AM.

Chertavian’s testimony provided an overview of how Year Up started and its proven success to date, with recommendations for how members of Congress can help close the Opportunity Divide — the gap between available middle-skills jobs and unemployed young adults — by increasing the employability skills of young people and reforming education and workforce systems.

“Across America today, nearly six million young adults – called Opportunity Youth – are out of school and out of work, unable to find a path to self-sufficiency or a family-sustaining wage,” Chertavian said. “Yet at the same time, a projected 12 million American jobs will go unfilled over the next decade simply because employers can’t find the skilled talent they need for the 21st century economy. This paradox is the result of a market failure: our education and training systems are increasingly both out of touch with employers’ needs and out of reach for young adults. Correcting this failure is both a moral imperative and an economic necessity.”

As part of his testimony, Chertavian shared three recommendations that would help transform education and workforce systems in the U.S. to make them more responsive to employer needs and more effective at connecting young people to jobs:

  • Align federally supported workforce investments to employer demand by exploring the reasonable expansion of the types of education and training institutions where Pell Grants can be used.
  • Focus on outcomes and results rather than compliance when measuring success by expanding Pay for Success procurement practices across all federal workforce and education programs.
  • Remove barriers to labor market participation by advancing sentencing reform for minor non-violent offenses, expanding the Earned-Income Tax Credit, investing in community development, and creating a pathway to citizenship.

Chertavian founded Year Up in Boston in 2000. The free program has since provided more than 17,000 young adults with training in in-demand technical and professional skills, and internships at leading employers like State Street Bank, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, AT&T, and Bank of America. Year Up is the largest and fastest growing nonprofit serving young adults founded in this century.

About Year Up Inc.

Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college-level coursework. Its holistic approach focuses on students’ professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency. Year Up currently serves more than 3,600 students annually across 24 campuses in Arizona, Baltimore, Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Greater Atlanta, Greater Boston, Greater Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, National Capital Region, New York City, Providence, Puget Sound, South Florida and Wilmington. To learn more, visit, and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter: @YearUp