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Evaluating Year Up’s Programs for Young Adults


  • Millions of young adults face limited economic opportunities.
  • Abt is evaluating Year Up’s original and next-generation programs.
  • Year Up’s original program generated large, sustained increases in earnings.
The Challenge

Prospects for young adults without postsecondary credentials have steadily worsened in recent decades. With few chances at well-paying jobs, millions give up on school and withdraw from the labor force. Helping low-skilled young adults access training that can increase earnings and meet employers’ pressing workforce needs is a critical goal for policymakers, training providers, and employers.

The Approach

Abt is evaluating successive generations of Year Up—a national program for young adults aged 18-24 with high school credentials. The full-time program provides six months of technical training and supports followed by six-month internships with major firms. For the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study, Abt is evaluating Year Up’s original program via a large randomized controlled trial (RCT). In related projects, Abt is studying Year Up’s newer, college based model—the Professional Training Corps (PTC).

The Results

A series of reports from PACE provides longer term impact and cost-benefit findings for Year Up’s original program. The newest findings show that the program produced large and lasting increases in average annual earnings gains that reached nearly $8,000 (33 percent) by the fifth follow-up year. The program generated $1.66 in net benefits for every dollar spent.

Abt also is assessing Year Up’s college-based PTC program. Early phases of this work focused on developing evidence-based improvements. For example, an embedded RCT found that enhanced academic coaching increased program retention by 10 percentage points.


Year Up’s original program

Year Up’s Professional Training Corps and related issues