While efforts toward educational improvements are important, a nagging policy
question remains—what to do about the young people who are unlikely to obtain a two-
or four-year postsecondary degree? Despite the focus on postsecondary credentials,
one out of six young adults lack strong connections to school or work. Poor education
and work experiences early in one’s career have been shown to have lasting consequences for employment and earnings trajectories.
This adds more emphasis to this positive evaluation of the Year Up program. Year Up, a non-profit organization headquartered in Boston, was founded by a former software entrepreneur in 2000 to provide a year of training and work experience to urban young adults ages 18 to 24. It has been able to develop a network of program sites across the country without the constraints imposed by public funding. Initial results from a small-scale impact study conducted by Mobility demonstrate that Year Up students experience remarkable earnings gains after a year in the labor market, compared to a control group. These gains were achieved during one of the worst economic recessions in recent memory.