A collective look into the experiences and perspectives of the young women of color who’ve graduated from Year Up. Year Up is a nonprofit organization that provides economic opportunity to young adults from urban communities via a one-year IT training and internship program.

 

Everyone has the potential to be someone great. All they need is the right resources. According to Opportunity Nation, six million young adults in the U.S. are out of work, out of school, and without access to the economic mainstream. These are six million young adults between the ages of 16 – 24 years old without resources. They’re stuck on one side of the Opportunity Divide.

The Opportunity Divide is a symptom of institutional racism that prevents youth from certain zip codes and income levels from achieving economic prosperity. These young adults are full of potential and talent and have the eagerness to succeed despite lacking a solid support system, higher education or access to other resources that will propel them towards success.

 

Opportunity Divide

 

Year Up is able to provide a community and economic opportunity for young adults across the U.S., including the Bay Area, New York City, Boston, Washington DC and Atlanta among many other cities. Year Up is an intensive, year-long IT education and internship program. Year Up students learn marketable technology skills in IT, project management and quality assurance (to name a few) as well as important soft skills for the business place like how to interview, network and communicate effectively. Most importantly, students are in a safe environment with peers, advisors and mentors away from the outside noise and madness in their personal lives.

Year Up is the bridge that empowers urban youth to cross the Opportunity Divide towards economic success, and provides them with the resources and network to be great.

Before Year Up, I had no direction in life. I couldn’t look past a month into my future. Year Up allowed me to flourish by providing staff mentors that pushed me past my potential and held me accountable like no one else had ever done for me in my life. After my internship at Salesforce as a Junior Communications Intern, I was able to secure a full-time position as a Partner Operations Analyst. It’s been four years now. Working at Salesforce has allowed me to enroll in college to pursue a higher education; I have the financial independence to live alone, travel, and break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck like my parents did.

I’m one Year Up.

 

Clara Saenzpardo

About the Author
Clara Saenzpardo was born in Mexico City, raised in San Francisco and currently resides in Oakland, CA. She is passionate about social activism, traveling, and going on adventures.