Year Up’s new home inspires

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We sat down with Year Up CFO Andrea Hayward to discuss why they selected 45 Milk Street as the new headquarters for their impactful program.

Q: How does 45 Milk Street help Year Up, a one year intensive training program for low income young adults, fulfill your mission and reflect your culture?

45 Milk Street is special. We like occupying the entire building. It feels like home. It’s a place where students can come to learn in a business, professional, and somewhat quirky atmosphere. The historical architecture, large windows. and floor plates work well for our program and sense of community.

Q: How is Year Up using the space?

Two floors serve as our new national headquarters. Most of the space is for classroom work. Our core subjects are finance and IT. There is also training around the “soft skills” of how to collaborate with co-workers, deal with conflict, and sell yourself. All of the skills that make employers want to hire our students. I call it going from poverty to professional in one year.

Q: How does the organization work to close the “Opportunity Divide”?

Through our direct service model. We have training programs here at 45 Milk and at community colleges in the area. It’s a win-win for the colleges. We’re able to show companies that Year Up is a solution to their search for quality entry level talent, and that our system works financially.

Q: How would you describe the year-long two semester program?

It’s like jobs training boot camp. Thousands of Year Up’s young professionals are now working for some of the country’s most successful companies. We started with 22 students, and are now serving 1,000 a year. We recently served our ten thousandth student nationally. Their recent profile on 60 Minutes gave us tremendous exposure.

Q: Why is Boston your national headquarters?

Our founder and CEO Gerald Chertavian is from Boston. He’s a graduate of Harvard Business School and is on their Board of Advisors. Boston is a very supportive community for non-profits and business, and a mecca for education.

Q: How does working at Year Up make you feel?

Employers have a challenge finding and retaining talent. We have young people in our neighborhoods that are assets not liabilities. Our program opens new doors for them, and has a ripple effect that impacts their families. It is extremely gratifying to know that I am making a difference in someone’s life.

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