The young people who find themselves at Year Up, a non-profit which offers 18-24-year-olds a yearlong preparation for the working world, have many different stories. Some had parents who had died, or were too ill to take care of them. Many lived in challenging neighborhoods where they didn’t know people who had steady jobs and stable home lives. Most of them didn’t have plans for college or a career, and some barely had enough income for day-to-day life.
All of them eventually heard about Year Up, and in a defining moment of their lives, applied and were accepted. Year Up partners with educational institutions to offer six months of education and six months of internship in a business. After they complete the program, 85 percent of graduates become employed or enroll in higher education within six months.
On Oct. 14, National Louis University President Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., and Year Up Chicago Executive Director Jack J. Crowe announced that NLU and Year Up are forming a partnership.
“We are completely aligned in terms of our mission,” Megahed said at Year Up Chicago’s fourth annual opportunity breakfast, held at the Union League Club.
“Education is a tool to restore the hope that often is lost for individuals who don’t see pathways to success. Year Up is a program that restores hope, empowers people to feel they can make that difference for themselves, so we are delighted. We think this is an incredible partnership.”
The first cohort of 30 Year Up students will start at NLU in January. They will earn academic credits toward an undergraduate business degree. After studying full-time at NLU during winter and spring quarters, they will begin six-month workplace internships in June at a variety of Year Up’s corporate partners.
In September 2017, plans call for a second Year Up cohort, this time with 40 students, to start. The two organizations’ leaders hope the partnership will grow from there. It will also be possible for Year Up graduates to return to NLU to complete their degrees or earn advanced degrees, on either a full-time or part-time basis. If they work full-time and want to attend school part-time, NLU has long offered flexible scheduling, classes during evening and weekend hours and online classes.