Year Up’s National Alumni Summit Focuses on Graduates “Advancing Together” to Close the Opportunity Divide

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Fifth annual summit was held in Baltimore, MD; activist DeRay Mckesson served as keynote speaker

This summit demonstrates Year Up’s commitment to supporting graduates throughout their careers, said Gerald Chertavian, Year Up Founder and CEO.

Continuing to celebrate the hard work, determination and success of Year Up graduates, Year Up’s National Alumni Association (NAA) held the Fifth Annual National Alumni Summit at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, MD on November 3 – 5, 2016. DeRay Mckesson, a civil rights activist and educator known for his role in Campaign Zero and Black Lives Matter, delivered a keynote address at the event.

More than 150 Year Up graduates representing 13 cities from across the United States gathered to build deeper relationships, continue development of their professional skills, and generate ideas to bring back to their local alumni boards and communities.

“This summit demonstrates Year Up’s commitment to supporting graduates throughout their careers,” said Gerald Chertavian, Year Up Founder and CEO. “Our theme this year is ‘Advancing Together,’ and we’re focusing on all three dimensions of Year Up’s alumni strategy: advancing in careers and education; contributing to Year’s Up success; and taking action in the Opportunity Movement.”

Year Up provides low-income young adults, ages 18-24, with six months of technical and professional skills training followed by a six-month corporate internship at companies like Johns Hopkins and Symantec. Eighty-five percent of graduates are employed or attending college full-time within four months of completing the program, with average starting salaries of $36,000/year.

As part of the summit, Year Up Professional Resources (YUPRO) held micro-coaching sessions and professional development workshops. YUPRO is a talent acquisition firm that exclusively represents Year Up graduates and works with companies seeking skilled, motivated talent.

Alumni board members hosted a panel about how graduates can get involved with their local alumni boards, with current Year Up Baltimore students having attended some of Friday’s events to gain a sense of the alumni experience.

The summit also featured a dialogue with young nonprofit leaders in Baltimore and Baltimore alumni on how the Baltimore community has come together following social and political unrest. DeRay Mckesson discussed his experiences engaging in movements and leading change, with an eye to the work of the alumni movement.

The summit’s results and key insights will be shared with the nearly 9500 individuals who have graduated from Year Up since the program’s launch in 2000.

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 credits. 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 3,000 students a year at sites in Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Jacksonville, the National Capital Region, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay Area, and South Florida. To learn more, visit or

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Roberto Zeledon
Year Up
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Tiffany Perez
Year Up
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