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.
— Publishers Weekly
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A must-read account of the origins and growth of Year Up, a groundbreaking employment program…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."
"An incredibly engaging, powerful story that brings to life the amazing potential of urban youth and what we must do to empower them to succeed."
— Wendy Kopp, CEO and founder, Teach for America
"An inpiring tale of headstrong young people who beat the odds and their journeys from the inner city to college to corporate America."
— Kenneth Chenault, chairman and CEO, American Express
"Gerald Chertavian is one of America’s leading pioneers for social change. Especially at a time of economic hardship, it is inspiring to read his story abut Year Up, a dynamic social venture that is helping so many young people lift themselves up. I have long believed that social entrpreneurs are at the vanguard of a second civil rights movement–one that again seeks equal opportunity for all of our people."
–David Gergen, professor of public service, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government; senior political analyst, CNN; former adviser to foour US presidents