Many young adults are struggling to access higher education and career opportunities.
Meanwhile, businesses are searching for employees who have skills that match available positions.
A non-profit is helping address both issues.
Year Up works with young adults to help them prepare for the workforce.
“I really think that the more students that we can train and put out into the community to be productive citizens, that helps us all,” Recruitment and College Outreach Manager Kevin Holmes said.
Citizens learned more about the organization at an Education and Innovation Committee meeting on Tuesday.
The Prince William Chamber of Commerce hosted the meeting at its headquarters in Manassas.
Gerald Chertavian founded the Boston-based organization in 2000 after working with the Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The students, Chertavian noticed, needed more than a mentor, according Holmes.
“Many of the folks that he worked with came from broken homes, lower socio-economic background, and they needed much more than a pathway to a college education,” Holmes said. “They needed employment opportunities once they completed college.”
Since its foundation, Year Up has established 21 sites nationwide. One location is at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge campus.
Students gain knowledge about working in a professional setting, such as how to dress and give presentations.
They also gain credits for a cybersecurity or information technology degree and participate in a six-month-long paid internship.
“The program really does a phenomenal job of applying theory that students will learn in the classroom to practice as far as the skills that you and your companies need in a professional setting,” Holmes said.
Year Up is recruiting students who could begin as early as February.
Participants must have a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED).
Prospective students can fill out an interest form that’s available online.