A Year Up: How a Pioneering Program Teaches Young Adults Real Skills for Real Jobs--With Real Success

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Overview

The inspiring story of a pioneering program that is redefining urban young adults as economic assets, not deficits

During Gerald Chertavian’s many years as a Big Brother, the former technology entrepreneur realized that our nation’s "Opportunity Divide" strands millions of young, disadvantaged, yet motivated workers at the bottom of the job ladder. In 2000, Chertavian dedicated his life to closing that divide and Year Up was born.

Year Up is an...

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A Year Up: How A Pioneering Program Teaches Young Adults Real Skills For Real Jobs With Real Success

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Overview

The inspiring story of a pioneering program that is redefining urban young adults as economic assets, not deficits

During Gerald Chertavian’s many years as a Big Brother, the former technology entrepreneur realized that our nation’s "Opportunity Divide" strands millions of young, disadvantaged, yet motivated workers at the bottom of the job ladder. In 2000, Chertavian dedicated his life to closing that divide and Year Up was born.

Year Up is an intensive program that offers low income young adults training, mentorship, internships, and ultimately real jobs—often with Fortune 500 companies. 85 percent of program graduates are employed or in full-time college within four months of graduation. Today, Year Up serves more than 1,300 students in nine cities across the nation.

Following a Year Up class from admissions through graduation, A Year Up lets students share—in their own words—the challenges, failures, and personal successes they’ve experienced during their program year. This deeply moving and inspirational story also explains Chertavian’s philosophy and the program’s genesis, offering a road map for real change in our country and a beacon for young adults who want the opportunity to enter the economic mainstream.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up, a nonprofit organization geared toward low-income young adults, is on a mission to create employment prospects for people ages 18–24 who find themselves on the wrong side of the "opportunity divide." Year Up is a yearlong program in which qualified urban youth spend six months learning marketable job skills and professional business skills followed by six months in a full-time internship—all while earning a stipend. Chertavian tells a compelling story of the creation and growth of Year Up, from its start in 2001 with 22 students to today, with nine locations and more than 1300 students. He focuses not only on successful outcomes but also on the lessons he learned and the changes he made in the program. Interwoven with his firsthand account are the individual voices of one class of Year Up students, giving context to the program. VERDICT Highly recommended. Chertavian's inspirational blueprint for successful social entrepreneurship serves students as an on-ramp to the economic mainstream while compensating for flaws in the education system. The story of Year Up is moving, the insights noteworthy, and the results laudable. [See Prepub Alert, 2/5/12.]—Jane Scott, George Fox Univ. Lib., Newberg, OR
Library Journal
Serving as a Big Brother, technology entrepreneur Chertavian realized that the country was defined by an "Opportunity Divide." So in 2000 he founded Year Up, a program for low-income young adults emphasizing training, mentoring, and internships leading to real jobs. The mediagenic program currently helps 1300 students in nine cities nationwide. With a nine-city tour and lots of push.
Kirkus Reviews
A must-read account of the origins and growth of Year Up, a groundbreaking employment program. Year Up founder and CEO Chertavian debuts with this memoir about his nationwide program, which is aimed at "closing the ever-widening Opportunity Divide in this country." As evidence of his success, he proudly cites growth rates over the 10 years from the program's start-up, but he also provides references from the 400 or so major corporations that have opened their doors to program participants as interns, and then employees. Year Up, writes Chertavian, offers a unique mixture of educational, social support and mentoring opportunities--not to mention health coverage. The program works closely with corporations, especially in the finance and technology fields, to develop curricula that meet the companies' emerging needs, and participants also learn the social skills they will need in their new lives. Entry-level jobs for program graduates average twice the minimum wage, or about $30,000 a year. Chertavian builds financial support from the corporations who underwrite the internship program, and he encourages networks within communities to refer promising candidates. He is also beginning to partner with community colleges to "connect young adults with living wage employment." In addition to highlighting his many successes, Chertavian recounts the difficulties students face in rising above difficult, and often brutal, circumstances to keep moving forward. The individuals profiled here are sure to inspire. Among recent publications on unemployment and education, this is a standout.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670023776
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/19/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 601,538
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald Chertavian is the founder and CEO of Year Up. He serves on the boards of Bowdoin College, the Boston Foundation, the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, and the Massachusetts State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. A graduate of Bowdoin College and Harvard Business School, he lives in Boston with his wife and three children.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Honk for Opportunity 1

Chapter 1 "Yo. God. What Are You Doing?" 18

Chapter 2 Brother from Another Zip Code 38

Chapter 3 Why Is He Doing This? 59

Chapter 4 Ping Me … Please? 73

Chapter 5 "You Don't Have a Chance in Hell" 92

Chapter 6 Don't Lose It Now! "7

Chapter 7 Oh, Pioneers! 136

Chapter 8 "Reach and Strive for 2005!" 160

Chapter 9 Guilty by Association 188

Chapter 10 "I'm Having an Intern Moment" 208

Chapter 11 Abdul, in a State of Grace 237

Chapter 12 The Soul of a New Machine 250

Chapter 13 "We Are One Year Up" 279

Chapter 14 "I Think That Woman Saved My Life" 300

Epilogue: Wheels Up for Opportunity 315

Acknowledgments 327

A Message from the Author 341

Notes 343

Index 347

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    The Year Up is the story of a program for low income young adult

    The Year Up is the story of a program for low income young adults to help them achieve financial and occupational success. Founder and CEO Gerald Chertavian describes the origins of this game-changing program, chronicling the lives of many of the students who have made it through and prospered. It's a great example of a charitable organization teaming up with big corporations to do what's best for the commmunity. I especially enjoyed reading the stories of many of the kids who have risen above difficult circumstances to find their inner strength and drive to succeed. It's at times sad, shocking, and eye-opening. But overall, I would describe it as inspiring.

    If you enjoy reading real stories about young people who've risen above insecurities to succeed, I'd highly recommend Anthony Youn's "In Stitches." It's a funny, heartwarming, and very highly entertaining story of a young kid who persevered to become a successful doctor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Year Up tells the story about a great program slowly but surel

    A Year Up tells the story about a great program slowly but surely pollinating cities throughout the US. The fact that it is mostly told by the people enrolled in Year Up demonstrates the power of the previously unheard voices. The author does a nice job telling the straight-forward stories these students have. While most of the narratives are from the NY Year Up sites, the dialogues are in reality, from each and every site in the US: Providence, Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, DC, Baltimore. Same heart-wrenching stories different cities.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    This book only confirms what I already believed - one person's v

    This book only confirms what I already believed - one person's vision can make a difference. I found inspiration in every chapter. As we as a country come to terms with the ever widening talent gap it is refreshing to see that this program (which I wish I had heard of sooner) is looking to the largely untapped pool of talent of those who stand on the wrong side of the opportunity divide. To hear the stories of the students and the story of David and Gerald it makes one wonder why there aren't more programs and leaders like these. Read this book, it's up there with Paul Hawken's Blessed Unrest in it's unyielding optimism that something can be done to incite change in this world. Buy this book and get a few copies for your friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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