PSAs and Website Launched at Clinton Global Initiative Offer Resources, Tools and Information to Encourage Businesses to Consider Non-traditional, Qualified Young Adults

September 24, 2014 / Boston — Yesterday at the 10th Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York City, Year Up in partnership with the Ad Council, the Employment Pathways Project, ConPRmetidos, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, New Options Project, and Opportunity Nation launched a national campaign to help employers across the United States meet their growing demand for entry-level talent. The campaign will connect businesses with the millions of motivated, qualified young adults, known as opportunity youth, who are currently out of work and out of school. The launch took place during CGI’s inaugural in-person meeting of the new Youth Employment Action Network, attended by both business and nonprofit leaders.

Secretary Hillary Clinton shared a message in support of the launch: “As we continue the work of Job One at The Clinton Foundation, we need to continue to build partnerships and to recruit more businesses to solve this important economic challenge. The Grads of Life PSA campaign is the first effort to drive employer demand for the millions of low-income young adults that are a huge source of untapped talent in our country and through employers can now access the first-ever online platform for the information, tools, and resources they need to take action today. I am asking employers, educators, non-profits, community leaders to join me and the Grads of Life campaign in this bold agenda to grow our economy and to create new opportunities for tomorrow’s Leaders.”

“Over the past decade, Year Up has connected more than four hundred businesses looking for skilled entry level talent with young adults searching for meaningful career opportunities,” said Gerald Chertavian, Year Up’s Founder and CEO. “We are honored to support the Grads of Life campaign to create employment pathways for our young adults and to highlight the tremendous opportunity this important source of talent represents for businesses, the economy and our country.”

There are more than 4 million open positions in the United States, and businesses are in need of qualified workers to fill these critical positions. However, employers often overlook the 6 million young adults, known as opportunity youth, who are resilient, motivated and hardworking but lack traditional educational credentials and/or steady work experience.

A national nonprofit organization that provides urban young adults with career-focused education, Year Up has served as a critical pipeline of qualified entry-level talent for top companies — such as American Express, JPMorgan Chase, and State Street — since its launch in 2000. Students receive six months of professional and technical skills training, followed by a six-month corporate internship. Nationwide, 85 percent of Year Up graduates are employed or attending college full-time within four months of completing the program, earning an average of $30,000/year. Over 90 percent of Year Up corporate partners would recommend the program to a friend or colleague.

The multimillion-dollar “Grads of Life” campaign will help change perceptions of opportunity youth to encourage more employers to invest in various “pathways to employment,” which include mentoring, school-to-work partnerships, internships, and other hiring opportunities. It will be targeted to hiring managers online through a partnership with LinkedIn, and extended through new Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels. Per the Ad Council’s model, the PSAs will run in space and time entirely donated by the media.

Visit the Grads of Life website to learn more about the campaign and find a great pool of untapped talent.

About Year Up Inc.

Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college credits. Its holistic approach focuses on students’ professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency. Year Up currently serves more than 2,100 students a year at sites in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco Bay Area, the National Capital Region, and Puget Sound (Seattle). To learn more, visit or

About “Grads of Life”

The “Grads of Life” campaign seeks to address the opportunity divide in the United States, the gap between the 6 million young people without access to employment or educational opportunities, and more than 4 million vacant positions businesses are in dire need of filling. To close this divide, a coalition of partners including Year Up, the Employment Pathways Project, New Options Project, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, Opportunity Nation, ConPRmetidos and Public Private Possibilities worked with the Ad Council to create this campaign designed to shift employer’s perceptions of opportunity youth and support employer’s evolving business practices to include these talented, young adults. To learn more about the “Grads of Life” please visit: