Our Country is the best nation on the planet. But we have a problem. (And it isn’t about presidential politics).
For way too many young adults, opportunity is out of reach due to no fault of their own. Being born in the wrong neighborhood or into the wrong family has left 6 million young adults disconnected from the opportunities that many of us take for granted.
Meanwhile, job openings are at all time highs. Employers are struggling to find workers with relevant skills.
And the thing is: young adults, even those that are “disconnected”, have the passion, drive and potential to fill these jobs, they simply lack the opportunity and training.
Thankfully, this problem is beginning to be addressed by Year Up and organizations like it.
Founded fifteen years ago by Gerald Chertavian, a successful entrepreneur and Harvard Business School Grad, Year Up has served more than 13,000 young adults and has long term aspirations to completely close this opportunity divide.
Thorough a 1 year program, talented young adults are giving specific skills: like IT, digital media, cyber-security, or accounting; and they are then placed in internships at companies ranging from Google to JP Morgan to Facebook.
In addition to professional skills, the young adults also receive mentorship and learn the “soft-skills” necessary to make it in a professional setting.
The mentorship piece is how I originally learned about the program 5 years ago (I now serve as co-chair of the Leadership Council in NYC)
Mentorship has always been important to me and I’ve always tried to give back, as I too have received a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” at many times in my career (I wrote about #myyearup here).
The organization is now pressing their foot on the accelerator and pushing towards scale and recently announced a program working with community colleges to reach even more young adults.
At a recent event at BMCC here in NYC, the organization laid out this new partnership model which vastly increases the potential to reach young adults who need a bridge to opportunity.
This movement to help empower our nation's youth is only beginning. Together we can bring these young adults the resources they deserve to be empowered to achieve the American Dream we all share.
And as we do, we will not only be serving them, we’ll be serving our Country and our future.
(This post also appeared here on Bold).