Year Up Impact Evaluation Demonstrates Impressive Results for Low Income Youth
Year Up, a leading workforce development program for low-income youth and a longtime New Profit grantee-partner, released a 2018 PACE Study & Results Report that shows participants in the organization’s program show significantly higher earnings—the largest reported to date for workforce programs tested in randomized control trials (RCTs)—shortly after the program ends than comparison groups. We want to congratulate Year Up Founder & CEO Gerald Chertavian and the whole Year Up team and community on this powerful statement about the skills and potential of opportunity youth.
Year Up’s PACE report should be an eye-opener for everyone focused on workforce development, including funders, policymakers, and others, because it shows that intensive, tightly-designed job training and mentorship programs like Year Up can produce significant impact. If the results for Year Up participants hold up, the program will pay for itself as these young people enter the workforce prepared to succeed and make living wages over the long term.
Background on Year Up and New Profit
Year Up was one of six organizations supported by New Profit’s Pathway Fund, a five-year initiative launched in 2011 to strengthen the bridge between education and workforce development so that more low-income youth have opportunities to build sustainable livelihoods. At New Profit, we work closely with our grantee-partners to develop their measurement and evaluation capacity in order to build their evidence base and engage in continuous learning. Throughout the period of the PACE study, New Profit served as a close advisor to Year Up’s evaluation team, helping them to get the PACE study off the ground and manage a complex, multi-site RCT evaluation that had many moving parts and implications for Year Up’s programmatic work and organizational capacity.
Year Up’s commitment to top-notch evaluation and evidence-building is impressive, but even more impressive are the large effects that Year Up has across its programs and sites on improving the long-term employment outcomes for low-income youth. The PACE (Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education) evaluation is a study of next-generation strategies for increasing economic self-sufficiency. Year Up is one of nine leading programs selected to participate in PACE, conducted by Abt Associates with federal sponsorship from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Social Innovation Fund and private support from New Profit and other philanthropic supporters. In 2013 and 2014, nearly 2,500 participants from nine Year Up locations across the U.S were randomized into treatment and control groups, and the Abt evaluation team is tracking these participants’ short-and long-term employment and education outcomes to determine Year Up’s impact.
Key PACE Report Findings
The 2018 PACE report is the first of several publications planned over the next five years, juxtaposing experiences of treatment and control group members before, during, and after the Year Up program. The 2018 report focuses on the impacts of the Year Up program on workforce and education outcomes six months after graduation, with a preview of Year Up’s impact on participants out to two years after graduation. The report findings are significant and point the way towards additional progress that can be made in the field:
- The trial found a 53% increase in initial earnings for young adults in the treatment group relative to those who were randomly assigned to a control group
- The earnings difference remained large — 40% higher for those in the treatment group — over the second and third follow-up years
- While results varied, the earnings impact was significant for all eight Year Up locations included in the study, as well as for every student subgroup (defined by age, gender, race/ethnicity, high school grades, education attainment, training commitment, etc.)
- The study demonstrates the efficiency of effective job training on young adults— generating a significant impact on earnings within a relatively short amount of time
The PACE study shows that job training for young adults is efficient and pays off—when it’s delivered effectively with the right support services and interventions. The most successful programs, like Year Up, are “high touch” with a focus on in-demand professional and technical skills, opportunities for work-based learning, high employer engagement, and evidence-based teaching practices.
Congratulations to our partners at Year Up for the meaningful impact that they have had on the young people that they serve and for their role in building the evidence and understanding in the broader field about the value of high-quality job training programs for low-income youth.
Click here to read an executive summary or the full 2018 PACE report.