Funding will allow nonprofit program to connect more Opportunity Youth in the Greater Phoenix area with meaningful careers at top companies


PHOENIX, AZ – JANUARY, 2020 – Continuing to expand its reach and provide even more young adults with access to economic opportunity, the nonprofit workforce development program Year Up Arizona announced today that it has received a $50,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities. The funding will enable Year Up Arizona’s Central City Campus at GateWay Community College to grow to serve more than 240 students in 2020, allowing Year Up Arizona to serve more than 320 young adults across both of its locations.

“With the support of Thunderbirds Charities, Year up Arizona will be able to amplify its impact and provide more motivated, talented young adults with the skills and support they need to move from minimum wage jobs to meaningful careers in just one year,” said Kim Owens, Executive Director of Year Up Arizona. “We’ll be able to reach our region’s most vulnerable young people and greatly improve their economic and education outcomes, while also providing local companies with more much-needed entry level talent.”

On January 9th, Year Up Arizona celebrated the graduation of its tenth class of students. 92 percent of Year Up graduates are employed or attending college within four months of completing the program, earning average starting salaries of $37,000/year.

Since its launch in January 2015 at GateWay Community College and the opening of a second campus at Southern New Hampshire University in September 2019, Year Up Arizona has served more than 875 young adults (ages 18-24, without college degrees). Students gain in-demand technical and professional skills in the first semester, then participate in a semester-long, credit-bearing internship at one of more than twenty top local companies, including American Express, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, PayPal and Arizona Federal Credit Union. Throughout the year, young adults earn college credits and a weekly financial stipend.

In 2018, the federally-sponsored Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) evaluation of Year Up showed a 53% increase in initial earnings for young adults randomly assigned to Year Up compared with similar young adults in a control group—the largest impact on earnings reported to date for a workforce program tested in a randomized controlled trial.

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About Year Up

Year Up is an award-winning, national 501(c)3 organization that enables motivated young adults ages 18-24 to move from minimum wage to meaningful careers in just one year by providing the skills, experience, and support they need to reach their full potential. Through a one-year, intensive program, Year Up utilizes a high-expectations, high-support model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, coursework eligible for college credit, and corporate internships at more than 250 top companies. Its holistic approach focuses on students’ professional and personal development to enable young adults with a viable path to economic self-sufficiency and meaningful careers. Year Up has served more than 26,000 young adults since its founding in 2000, and serves more than 4,700 young adults annually across 26 U.S. cities, including Arizona, Baltimore, Bay Area, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Greater Atlanta, Greater Boston, Greater Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, the National Capital Region, New York City/Jersey City, Puget Sound, Rhode Island, South Florida, Tampa Bay, and Wilmington. Year Up has been voted one of the “Best Non-Profits to Work For” by The NonProfit Times and rated a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator, placing them in the top 1% of tracked organizations.

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Thunderbirds Charities

Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in our communities. The organization’s giving is directed toward organizations based or with a significant presence in Arizona. The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. For more information on The Thunderbirds or the 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit For more information on Thunderbirds Charities, visit