Presents findings from an evaluation of Year Up, one of nine Pathways for Advancing Careers and Educating programs, which provides sectoral training in the IT and financial services sector for adults between the ages of 18 to 24 who lack postsecondary credentials in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence, the San Franciso-San Jose Bay Areas, Seattle, and Washington DC from 2013 to 2014.

“This report documents the implementation and early impacts of Year Up—a national sectoral training program for urban young adults aged 18-24….Year Up provides six months of full-time training in the IT and financial service sectors followed by six-month internships....The full-time program…puts a heavy emphasis on the development of professional and technical skills. Year Up is one of nine programs in the federally sponsored Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) evaluation” (O-i).

The program operates in: “Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence, the San Francisco-San Jose Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington DC” (ES-ii).

“As opportunities for college graduates have grown in recent decades, prospects for young adults without postsecondary credentials have steadily worsened. With few chances at well-paying jobs, millions give up on school and withdraw from the labor force, often leading to long-term disconnection and life-long disadvantages” (p.O-i).

“The evaluation draws on a wide range of data sources, including data collected directly from young adults; from the program’s staff and partners; and from records in several administrative data systems” (p.34). “The…study uses data from the program’s management information system; interviews with local staff, participants, and other stakeholders; an 18-month participant follow-up survey; and other sources” (p.O-ii). The program “recruited, screened, and randomly assigned a total of 2,544 young adults…in 2013-2014. The evaluation team measured outcomes using data from employer-reported wage data…, college enrollment records…, and the 18-month follow-up survey” (p.O-ii).

“Primary Research Questions….
• Was the Year Up program model implemented as designed across the program’s eight offices?
• How did employment, training, and related service experiences differ between young adults randomly selected to participate in Year Up…and those who could not access the program…?
• What were the effects of access to Year Up on earnings, career-track employment, postsecondary education, and related outcomes? How did these effects vary across subgroups and across the eight local offices” (p.O-i)?

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Bridging the Opportunity Divide for Low-Income Youth: Implementation and Early Impacts of the Year Up Program

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Overall, this analysis finds that Year Up generally implemented its services with high fidelity to the program model. Each of the four offices visited…was operating all major Year Up components. Quantitative measures attest to strong implementation of major program components such as recruitment, retention, internship sales, and post-program employment services in all eight local offices” (p.58). “Analyses…show that treatment group members received higher levels of training and a variety of supports than control group members. In interviews, Year Up participants described many positive experiences with the program’s instruction, supports, and internships. In contrast, about half of control group members received some E&T [education and training], mostly in local college programs. They generally had more difficulties charting career directions in these programs, although motivation and luck helped some find their way to career pathways” (p.68). “Four months after graduation, 83 percent of graduates were working either full-time (74 percent) or part-time (nine percent). Of those working, 88 percent were in an occupation relevant to Year Up’s training, 77 percent were earning at least $15/hour, and 41 percent had a job with their internship sponsor” (p.87). “Year Up’s culture also fosters a strong business ethos. This ethos encourages initiative and entrepreneurial behavior, as well as substantial use of language and tools from the business world” (p.88). “Though generally large, the size of impacts varied substantially. For example, earnings impacts were lower for students with weaker high school performance and for those expecting to work full-time—suggesting possible benefits from strengthening help with academics and with balancing school and work (perhaps by supporting reduced work hours). Smaller earnings gains for blacks signal that well-documented disadvantages facing this group—including greater discrimination and social and economic challenges—also require greater efforts to overcome” (p.89). “This report’s findings add to growing evidence on the promise of well-implemented career pathways approaches with a strong sectoral focus. These approaches tend to be intensive and comprehensive, address psycho-social skills as well as occupation-specific competencies, provide opportunities for work-based learning, engage employers, incorporate evidence-based practices, and emphasize continuous improvement” (p.90). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)