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Secretary Pritzker Tours Year Up Skills Center in Seattle, Washington

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Secretary Pritzker visiting the IT Apps class where students use office productivity applications to build their own business plan, which they present to the class as a final project.

Today, as part of her nationwide listening tour, Secretary Pritzker visited Year Up in Seattle, WA. Year Up is a national non-profit organization operating in 12 cities that provides urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to pursue professional careers and higher education.

She toured the facilities with Lisa Chin, Executive Director of Year Up Puget Sound Seattle, and John Stanton, Year Up Board Chair. On the tour she saw a Business Communications class where students learn the fundamentals of effective communication in a professional setting.  Some of the skills taught include public speaking, email etiquette, and giving presentations in a business setting. She also visited the IT Apps class where students use office productivity applications to build their own business plan, which they present to the class as a final project.

Students at Year Up focus on learning skills and obtaining needed credentials during their first six months in the program. In the second six months, students apply those skills through corporate sponsorships. Students can earn up to 23 college credits during their year of study. Year Up is an excellent of example of how employers, community colleges and non-profits can come together to teach young adults the skills valued by employers.

Year Up Puget Sound is only in its second year of existence, but in 2013, the 30 staff will serve 220 young adults throughout the Puget Sound.  Nationally, Year Up reports the following results:

  • 100% placement of qualified Year Up students into internships
  • Over 90% of corporate partners would recommend the Year Up program to a friend or colleague
  • 84% of graduates are employed or attending college full-time within four months of completing the program.
  • Employed Year Up graduates earn an average of $15 per hour – the equivalent of $30,000 per year.

Building off the 2012 Summer Jobs+ program, the Obama Administration is bringing together elected officials, local businesses, and non-profit organizations to create pathways to employment for young Americans. In April 2013, President Obama issued a challenge to businesses, non-profits, and government: Work together to provide employment opportunities for low-income and disconnected youth that will also aim to reduce youth violence in local communities.

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