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MANAGEMENT UPDATE.

ENERGIZING INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY 


Results for America, a non-profit organization that helps government leaders use evidence and data to find solutions to many of society’s ills – recently issued an updated case study about the progress a program in Charlotte has made to improve upward mobility for its children.


The findings were inspirational about the power of government, in collaboration with philanthropic organizations, universities and the private sector, to achieve results.


Just about a decade ago in a study about intergenerational mobility of America’s 50 biggest cities, Charlotte came in dead last. The study found that in that city, “the probability that a child reaches the top quintile of the national income distribution starting from a family in the bottom quintile is 4.4%”.


Following the study, a task force created by Charlotte’s mayor and a Mecklenburg county commissioner spent 18 months analyzing potential policy solutions, zeroing in on college and career preparedness, which is highly linked to intergenerational mobility. To build “career-connected pathways” it focused on post-secondary education and building internships.


Then, in 2019, a Boston nonprofit expanded to Charlotte, providing its Year Up program which, according to the case study, “operates tuition-free and provides its mostly low-income participants with six months of sector-specific technical coursework followed by a six-month internship, with the goal of transitioning them into full-time roles.”


As the case study explains, “On a per-participant basis, the “Year Up” model is among the most expensive job training programs for young adults. (However, the majority of these costs are covered by area employers, and little public money is typically needed to operate Year Up sites.) 


Key components of the program, according to Results for America are: 


  • Providing a seamless pathway to employment through internship opportunities, support services and job placement services.

  • Setting high levels of expectation including a contract participants must sign agreeing to “adhere to a set of professional standards.”

  • Providing certification for Year Up Students, to ensure that they have a formal credential that can be used to demonstrate technical expertise. 

  • Giving college credits toward an associate degree at Central Piedmont Community College. 

  • Working closely with employers in the area, not only by providing internship opportunities but also contributing the bulk of the program’s cost through payments to interns.


Through the beginning of 2024, Year Up Charlotte has worked with about 850 young adults and the results speak for themselves. In fact, according to the case study “Alumni of Year Up Charlotte earn an average starting salary of $60,382. More than half of those graduates were earning $25,000 or less prior to enrollment, meaning that Year Up helped many students double their incomes in the short term while also significantly increasing their earning potential over the long term.”


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