Innovative Workforce Training Program for Young Adults Produces Largest Earnings Gains to Date

Share Article

The federally sponsored Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) evaluation by Abt Associates found a 53 percent increase in earnings among Year Up participants, compared with young adults who qualified for but were not admitted to the program.

This rigorous evaluation confirms that Year Up’s unique approach to job training—which minimizes risk for both young adults and employers—has a tremendous impact for thousands of individuals across the US. - Gerald Chertavian, Year Up founder and CEO

The federal government yesterday released unprecedented findings on Year Up, a national workforce development program. Immediately following the one-year program, the study showed a 53% increase in earnings for young adults randomly assigned to Year Up compared with similar young adults in a control group. The earnings difference remained large—40% higher for the Year Up group—for at least two years after graduation. Year Up’s impacts on earnings are the largest reported to date for a workforce program tested in a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Year Up provides six months of in-demand technical and professional job training to motivated and talented young adults (ages 18-24, without college degrees), followed by a six-month internship at a top company, as well as weekly stipends and up to 31 college credits at local college partners. Year Up is one of nine programs Abt Associates is studying in the national Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) evaluation.

“In recent years, the field has begun to see encouraging impact findings for a newer class of programs that, like Year Up, provide intensive training and engage employers in targeted sectors,” said David Fein, the PACE Principal Investigator at Abt. “Year Up’s impacts, based on effective delivery of an extensive array of promising services, show what can be accomplished in a relatively short but intensive program. This program is also remarkable for its ability to secure financial support and internship opportunities from major employers—demonstrating how private sector investments can help young adults get started in good careers.”

The PACE study showed especially positive outcomes for the 83% of Year Up graduates who were employed within four months of completing the program. The majority of these young adults were working full-time in targeted occupations with an average wage of $17.41/hour—more than $34,000/year.

“This rigorous evaluation confirms that Year Up’s unique approach to job training—which minimizes risk for both young adults and employers—has a tremendous impact for thousands of individuals across the US. Young adults are willing to invest time and effort in Year Up because they’re guaranteed an internship and weekly stipend. Employers benefit from access to skilled, motivated talent,” said Gerald Chertavian, Year Up founder and CEO. “The study also shows that there’s more than one path to success. Getting a good job first and then completing a college degree may make more sense for many young adults than the traditional ‘college first, job second’ route.”

Year Up targets young adults who are underemployed or disconnected from school and work, helping them secure good jobs in high-growth sectors (such as IT and financial services) in the short term and, in the longer term, complete a college degree. The PACE study found that young adults assigned to Year Up averaged 4 more college credits and were 18 percentage points more likely to receive a professional certification or license in the first 18 months compared to those in the control group.

“These findings show that Year Up participants can drastically increase their employability and earnings while keeping momentum with their ongoing education,” said Garrett Warfield, Senior Director of Research & Evaluation at Year Up.

Funded by the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the PACE evaluation is a 10 year study of nine programs that include key features of a “career pathways framework.” The study looked at Year Up sites in eight cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence, the San Francisco-San Jose Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington DC. Year Up offices in these metropolitan areas recruited, screened, and randomly assigned a total of 2,544 young adults to treatment (1,669) and control (875) groups on a staggered basis in 2013-14. This was the largest sample of students among the nine programs evaluated by PACE. Control group members were subject to a three-year embargo on Year Up participation but could receive other training and supports in the community. The 2018 report covers the program’s implementation and impacts over a 3-year follow-up period—extending two years beyond the one-year program. Future reports will cover up to six years of follow-up and include cost-benefit analyses.

About Year Up
Year Up is an award-winning, national 501(c)3 organization that provides talented and motivated young adults ages 18-24 with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Through a one-year, intensive training program, Year Up utilizes a high-support, high-expectations 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 19,500 young adults since its founding in 2000, and will serve more than 4,000 young adults in 2018 across 21 U.S. cities in Arizona, Baltimore, Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Greater Atlanta, Greater Boston, Greater Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, National Capital Region, New York City, Providence, Puget Sound, South Florida, and Wilmington. Year Up has been voted one of the “Best Non-Profits to Work For” by The NonProfit Times for eight consecutive years, and rated a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator for twelve consecutive years, placing them in the top 1% of tracked organizations.

To learn more, visit, and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter: @YearUp

About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security. Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ grounded insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development.

About PACE
The Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) project is a rigorous evaluation of next-generation strategies for increasing the economic self-sufficiency of low-income individuals and families. PACE aims to produce methodologically rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of nine selected career pathways approaches that will address issues of interest to federal, state, and local policymakers and practitioners and have significant influence on policy and practice. The evaluation uses a random assignment methodology.

The study is led by Abt Associates. Key evaluation partners include the American Public Human Services Association, MEF Associates, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association, the University of Michigan, and the Urban Institute.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Roberto Zeledon
Year Up
+1 (857) 305-9995
Email >

Tiffany Perez
Year Up
(646) 341-6837
Email >
since: 03/2009
Follow >
Year Up
since: 03/2009
Like >
Follow us on
Visit website