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Year Up is a national nonprofit workforce development organization that has connected over 36,000 young adults ages 18 to 29, 90% of whom identify as a person of color, to livable wage careers at hundreds of top companies.

Year Up’s high expectations, high support model where students learn in-demand technical and professional skills and apply them during a corporate internship has shown the highest wage gains of any workforce development program. It was one of 9 programs studied as part of the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) RCT study, which examined the success of career pathway programs serving low-income individuals and families. Among these 9 programs, Year Up was one of the few programs that demonstrated long-term effects on individuals’ earnings post-participation, with participants demonstrating continuing and statistically significant earnings gains 5 years after program entry.

Building on their success, Year Up is seeking to scale its program to serve 28,000 young people between 2021 and 2025. AIR is partnering with Year Up to support this expansion through the development and application of reliable and valid skill assessments that will allow them to (1) match students to new program variations based on their skills and readiness levels; (2) more efficiently identify student coaching needs; and (3) measure student skill growth throughout the program. In addition, AIR is helping Year Up strategize, implement, and study their growth efforts.

The PROMISE Center works to develop, build, and measure the impact of innovations that can increase economic opportunity and mobility in the U.S. at scale. The PROMISE Center is directly supported by the AIR Equity Initiative, AIR’s $100+ million five-year investment to advance equity in several important areas: workforce development, education, public safety and policing, and health. Learn more.