Rosado_JessicaBefore Year Up, I was making minimum wage at a shoe store in Pennsylvania. Today, I work for a Fortune 500 company in New York City.

Here’s how I did it.

I’ve always wanted bigger and better jobs, but I couldn’t afford college, and whenever I went on corporate job interviews I was told I didn’t have enough experience. A chance was all I needed to prove myself and gain experience.

Everything started to change when my cousin, who graduated from Year Up,  told me about the program. I liked the idea that I could learn hands-on skills needed in the corporate world as well as earn college credit. It was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass me by. I knew if I didn’t push myself to chase my dreams, I’d be stuck in dead-end jobs forever.

Year Up was an amazing experience like no other. It became my home away from home. A place where I was able to open up and be myself but also better myself and learn a lot of skills that a regular college or high school wouldn’t teach me. The one-on-one attention that I received from teachers and staff members was phenomenal and helped create a comfortable and happy learning environment. For example, when I started the training phase of the program I was shy and terrified of public speaking. The staff at Year Up worked with me to overcome my fears. After only a few months, I started to give presentations and ask questions in class.

I never could’ve imagined after training that I’d land an internship at a Fortune 500 company like JPMorgan Chase. I joined the IT department as a member of their Build & Service Request team. After noticing I wanted more, I talked with my manager and he adjusted my schedule so I could work a few days a week with the Software Asset Management team.

Today I’m working full-time as a Trading Technology Analyst for JPMorgan Chase. I help track server breaks and trading incidents within the market data infrastructure. (In other words, we keep the traders trading every day.)

Working at JPMorgan Chase has been a dream come true. I’ve been able to network with very successful people who have guided me on the right path. I’m forever grateful to everyone who has mentored me.

I recently graduated with an Associates degree in International Business from Berkeley College. I plan on going back for my bachelors in business management. I want to keep pushing myself for bigger and better. I want to set an example for all young men and women like myself that anything is possible if you just try your hardest and stay focused.