YEAR UP

Organizational Budget Narrative (Please include any additional information or context about the organization’s

financial situation you wish to share.):

 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Year Up made the difficult decision

to right-size the organization in April, lower enrollment for the remainder of the year, and cut costs across all

functional areas of the organization. As a result, we reduced the Year Up Greater Philadelphia 2020 budget from

approximately $6.3M to $5.1M. We believe these changes will ensure the sustainability of our organization and

keep our mission intact, as our work will be more important than ever on the other side of this crisis.

 

GRANT REQUEST

Please signify the type of support you are requesting from Life Science Cares:

 

Programming (new or expanded)

 

Project Title:

 

Year Up Talent Hub & College Embedded Model

 

Total Project Budget (if applicable):

 

We have yet to finalize our 2021 budget, but can estimate that the Year Up Greater Philadelphia (YUGP) expenses will be $4,659,646.

Requested Amount:

$25,000

 

In which Life Science Cares Area of Focus is the requested project’s work?

 

Education

 

Description of Need (What is the issue you plan to address? What are the demographics and number of people

you plan to serve, if applicable?):

 

As part of the Year Up national network, Year Up Greater Philadelphia (which includes the Philadelphia and Wilmington sites) was founded in 2013 to offer all young adults—no matter their background, income, or zip code—access to economic opportunity and social justice. Our mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education. The Opportunity Divide is the vast gap between talented young adults who have been traditionally overlooked and underserved, and leading companies seeking diverse talent to fill critical middle-skills roles. Year Up serves Opportunity Talent, individuals from

traditionally untapped talent pools who are seeking economic stability from equal opportunity employers.

Opportunity Talent represent a diverse range of skills and experiences, and can address many talent gaps. This

group includes many populations, such as young adults who are out of school, not working, or unable to access

living wage careers. Before the COVID-19 crisis, more than 94,000 young adults across the Greater Philadelphia

and Wilmington areas were separated from employment and education opportunities, and we know that this

number is growing. Through our direct service workforce development program, we serve a segment of the

Opportunity Talent population: young adults aged 18-24, the majority of whom identify as people of color. The

students we serve represent a diverse background of identities and experiences. In recent cohorts, the majority of

students identified as people of color, including Black or African American (43%) and Hispanic or Latino (25%).

Smaller percentages of students identify as White, Multiracial, Asian, Native American, or another race. In March,

as the coronavirus began to rapidly spread across our community, we sent a survey to students to assess their

emergent needs as a result of the crisis. From students’ responses, we learned that approximately 44% of

students had lost supplemental income because of hours reductions or layoffs as a result of the pandemic, and

56% of students lived with someone whose job had been impacted. Already challenged by various risk factors, our

students and their families are now experiencing the negative effects of lost wages, lay-offs, closed schools, and

limited access to health care. With the support of Life Science Cares, we will act on our mission and commitment

to continuous service throughout this pandemic. This grant would support the 190 students that will enroll in Year

Up Greater Philadelphia in 2021 (90 in Philadelphia and 100 in Wilmington) and prepare them for their future

careers through two different innovative models. Year Up will continue to be a leader in addressing racial and

economic injustice, remaining steadfast in our commitment to connect students to meaningful education and

career pathways and help them gain the financial security and career stability necessary to face potential crises in

the future.

 

Specific Activities (Please detail what activities you intend to undertake as a result of the grant. Include

information about service delivery and timelines.):

 

Year Up Philadelphia: In Fall 2020, we launched a reimagined, digitally-powered, and accelerated version of our workforce development program for Opportunity Talent in Philadelphia. This seven-month pilot leverages our 20 years of experience in workforce development from across the Year Up national network and core methodologies to enable students to become career-ready. The overall objective of this trial is to test the design of three-month-long, highly supportive, primarily virtual learning

experience and four-month-long work immersion that equips opportunity talent with in-demand professional

skills and demonstrates performance benchmarks that will inform opportunities for future replication and scale.

In 2021, we will serve two cohorts of the Talent Hub, and we are committed to constant learning and improving to

ensure the highest quality even as we test a new model.

Year Up Wilmington: Year Up Wilmington is embedded within Wilmington University. This model of aligning and

operating within a community college is an approach we have been testing with great success in recent years, and

the value add it has for our students. Their ability to make concurrent connections to higher education and living

wage career pathways is unique among workforce development programs. Upon admission in fall 2020 and spring

2021, each class will participate in 21 weeks of classroom-based training and then progress to a 24-week

corporate internship with companies like Amazon, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase. For the first 21 weeks,

all academic instruction and professional skill development will be led by Year Up staff and Wilmington University

faculty over virtual platforms, including Zoom and Coursera. We will focus on preparing students with not only indemand

technical skills, but also critical skills for remote workplaces, including managing appointments, leading

virtual meetings, and mastering online communication. Students will graduate in July 2021 and January 2022,

respectively. In addition, students will have receive a nominal stipend and have access to wraparound supports

through the Student Services team. Staffed by social workers, this team addresses a myriad of challenges that

may arise outside of the program.

 

Evaluation (What are the anticipated results? What methods will you use to measure your progress? What does

success look like?):

 

The Talent Hub pilot in Philadelphia has very specific goals in mind. We want to demonstrate that we can: enable our students to become career-ready through a shorter, self-paced, more flexible, primarily virtual learning experience; support our students’ journey in a tech-enabled way from learning and development to career immersion to economic mobility, by reducing operational complexity; update staffing roles and functional responsibilities to compliment technology enhancements and efficiencies to enable successful programmatic delivery. While the delivery may vary from our traditional approach, the following core values are integral across all of our programming, including this pilot: a deep strategic relationship with employers, high

expectations and community building methodology, a holistic wraparound support to mitigate student success

barriers, career readiness mentality ingrained in technical and essential skills curriculum, intense focus on

outcomes and measurement. During this grant period, Year Up Wilmington will strive to achieve the following

outcomes: 75% full-year program retention, demonstrating the efficacy of Year Up’s model; 85% of graduates

employed and/or enrolled in postsecondary education within four months of graduation, demonstrating that our

graduates are empowered, professional, in-demand, and ready for careers; 70% of graduates hired into full-time

jobs related to their Year Up training, demonstrating that Year Up prepares young people for employment in

professional, high-demand careers; and, at least $18/hour average starting wage for employed graduates,

demonstrating our alumni’s ability to compete for and obtain jobs that offer sustainable wages. While we take

immense pride in our data-informed approach, we anticipate that our goals will be difficult to reach during the

grant period, due to the compounding effects of the pandemic on the economy. Year Up remains committed to

navigating this crisis alongside alumni, pursuing every opportunity to ensure they are connected to employment

upon graduation.

Does this project already have support from life science companies? If so, what is the nature of that support?

 

No.

 

EFFECTIVENESS, COLLABORATION, INNOVATION

Is there any other information not captured elsewhere regarding your organization, project, program or initiatives

that you believe will help the Life Science Cares team in evaluating your request?

 

Year Up Greater Philadelphia respectfully requests a $25,000 investment to be split between the Philadelphia Talent Hub and Wilmington College Embedded Model. Funds for the Talent Hub will be used to support our technology costs, which are

significant given the virtual nature of the training. Funds directed to Wilmington will support general operating

expenses.

 

How does your organization or program differentiate from other organizations doing similar work? Are you

executing or proposing to executive an innovation in program or service?

 

Year Up Greater Philadelphia is unique because we combine professional skills training, soft skills training, a professional internship, an educational stipend, college credit recommendations, and comprehensive wraparound support to our students. Our corporate partners are key stakeholders, and pay market rates for our talented, motivated interns. We have robust feedback

loops with our corporate partners to enable us to constantly assess new career tracks and adjust our program

based on the market demand. With focused preparation in high-demand, middle-skilled roles, our students are

ready for professional employment immediately upon completing the program. At the same time, they are

progressing toward a postsecondary credential or degree by earning college credits for the successful completion

of their studies. Our emphasis on earning a credential while getting workforce preparation distinguishes Year Up

Greater Philadelphia from many other programs, and is a crucial element of young adults’ success after their year

with us.

 

We will use this grant to build off our research-validated approach with something truly innovative, that if

successful, has incredible potential for scale and replication to serve thousands more Opportunity Talent.