Jessica Figueroa works at her desk inside the National Year Up office in Boston, overlooking photos of her 4-year-old daughter, Casey. As a Stipend Specialist at Year Up, Jessica’s responsible for processing funding for Year Up students across the country. This role is especially meaningful for her because, not too long ago, she was one of these students receiving a stipend.

After graduating from high school, Jessica was supporting her 6-month-old baby by working part-time as a server. With her husband’s encouragement, she joined Year Up Greater Boston, where she was empowered with the soft skills, technical skills, and confidence she needed to propel her career.

During the program, Jessica at times felt overwhelmed and considered giving up. But her Year Up coach, who was also a program alumnus, reminded her that she had the strength and determination to make it through the most challenging moments.

Because of this, she vowed to support other students like her coach did for her. She also set a goal to work at Year Up one day, and she feels proud to have accomplished that goal. In addition to her position on the Finance team, Jessica works directly with current Year Up students as a coach, supporting young adults through their journeys, dedicated to lifting others as she climbs.

“The reason I wanted to work here is because of how empowered I felt with the staff here. I wanted to do the same thing with someone who was like me,” Jessica shared. “I came into the program shy; I didn’t believe in myself, and I met a staff member who helped me along the way. That’s what I wanted to do with someone else in the program.”

Jessica is currently completing the undergrad requirements through the DUET program with Southern New Hampshire University. And she’s putting money aside for her own daughter’s education.

Every Year Up staff member works directly with our young adults. See our open roles and apply on our Careers Page.