The Pace of Remediation Work on the National Skills Gap Accelerates

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2000: Year Up

I first met Gerald Chertavian, the founder of Year Up, during the spring of 2005 at a Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council event in Newton, Massachusetts. Having founded Tech Corps in 1995, I was curious to learn more about Year Up. After I introduced myself to him, he said, “Please join me for the June graduation luncheon honoring the class of 2005 Year Up students.”

Several weeks later I was sitting in a banquet room at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Boston. There were maybe 100 people in attendance honoring the approximately 20 graduates of the yearlong (hence the name Year Up) program. I left impressed, and several weeks later, over lunch, Chertavian told me the story of how he started Year Up.

A 1987 graduate of Bowdoin College, Chertavian was living in New York City and joined the Big Brother volunteer organization, where he met 10-year-old David Heredia. For three years, Chertavian spent every Saturday with David and realized that David lacked the resources for the path to success that Chertavian had access to.

After his Big Brother experience with David, Chertavian headed off to Harvard Business School, where after graduation he cofounded and later sold a dot-com company. But Chertavian never forgot his experience with David Heredia. So in 2000 he decided to start Year Up to help close ...

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