At our Corporate Voices for Working Families annual meeting we honored Year Up as our Nonprofit Partner of the Year, recognizing that organization for being the premiere alternative pathway program that successfully prepares low income young adults for professional careers.
Today, with the national spotlight on mentors and parents, President Barack Obama visited the Year Up offices in Washington, visiting with staff members and talking to students. Here’s the story from Year Up:
President Barack Obama visited with students at Year Up today to celebrate responsible fathers and the contributions they make to our country. A model of social innovation, Year Up is a one year program that serves low-income men and women, ages 18 to 24, using a pioneering approach that provides professional and technical skills training, college credits, mentoring, social support and an apprenticeship with a corporate partner. With a national network of 6 sites in Atlanta, Boston, New York, Providence, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., Year Up is meeting its mission to close the opportunity divide.
The President talked with students about the challenges facing young adults today, and how critical Year Up has been for them as they strive to effectively find a pathway to a livable wage career and post secondary education, while still being able to take responsibility for their families.
“The President really seems to understand the things that young fathers have to do to take care of their children and he wants us to have the opportunities to provide for our families,” said Juan Carlos Artero, a Year Up alumnus and current staff member, who will speak at the White House later this afternoon.
Several students guided the President on a tour of Year Up’s Washington, D.C., site. They demonstrated their skills in business communications and their proficiency in computer hardware assembly. The students were then joined by several of Year Up’s corporate and philanthropic partners including Bank of America, Carlyle Group, Freddie Mac, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, Perot Systems, State Street Bank and Venture Philanthropy Partners.
Year Up works as an alternative pathway for youth integrating workforce training, post-secondary education and work experience that meets the needs of low-income young adults and also helps employers by providing them with skilled entry-level talent.
“At Year Up we believe that with high expectations and high support every young adult can reach their potential and get onto a viable path to economic self-sufficiency. We are greatly honored that the President visited with our students today and we look forward to working with the Administration to scale this successful model and bridge the needs of employers and young adults,” said Gerald Chertavian, Year Up’s Founder and CEO.
And with the President came substantial national news coverage, including this Associated Press story: “Obama tells men to be there for kids.” Here’s from the story:
President Barack Obama, who barely knew his own father, had personal advice Friday for young men who become dads: “Even if your father was not there, you can be there for your child.”
Two days before Father’s Day, Obama was spending the afternoon promoting the importance of mentors and engaged parents.
He spoke at Year Up, a nonprofit program that trains 18-to-24-year-olds from urban backgrounds for college or professional work. The students get training for high-tech professions but also learn personal skills, like how to communicate well and solve conflicts, to help them succeed in life.
At the site in Arlington, Va., just outside of Washington, Obama told roughly 50 young men and women that it is the role of their communities to help provide them with support and direction. He said he knows they are headed into a tough job market but can succeed if they are persistent.
Obama took a brief tour of the center before speaking. At one point he got a lesson on the components of a computer from two of the students. Surveying a table full of parts, Obama said: “It’s about time I figure out what’s going on.”
He implored the men in the group to be present for their own children.
Allison Tomei, communications and government relations coordinator for Corporate Voices, helped to coordinate the communications and media relations for the President’s visit.