A Year Up: How a Pioneering Program Teaches Young Adults Real Skills for Real Jobs with Real Success

. 2012. 386p. 978-0-67002-237-6. 26.95.
Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up, a nonprofit organization geared toward low-income young adults, is on a mission to create employment prospects for people ages 18–24 who find themselves on the wrong side of the “opportunity divide.” Year Up is a yearlong program in which qualified urban youth spend six months learning marketable job skills and professional business skills followed by six months in a full-time internship—all while earning a stipend. Chertavian tells a compelling story of the creation and growth of Year Up, from its start in 2001 with 22 students to today, with nine locations and more than 1300 students. He focuses not only on successful outcomes but also on the lessons he learned and the changes he made in the program. Interwoven with his firsthand account are the individual voices of one class of Year Up students, giving context to the program.
VERDICT Highly recommended. Chertavian’s inspirational blueprint for successful social entrepreneurship serves students as an on-ramp to the economic mainstream while compensating for flaws in the education system. The story of Year Up is moving, the insights noteworthy, and the results laudable. [See Prepub Alert, 2/5/12.]
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