Year to Career
Accelerating Credentials and Careers in a Redesigned 13th Year
The goal of Year to Career is to build a new, high-quality pathway that improves postsecondary outcomes for older youth, ages 18-26. Current pathways to quality employment are too limited and take too long for many young people who are unprepared for college, particularly those from low-income families and communities.
Youth looking for entry into well-paying employment after high school typically have two choices. They can obtain a college credential, which can take many years, especially for those needing remediation before they can enter credit-granting technical programs. Or they can seek short-term training opportunities, which are typically disconnected from employer needs or not intensive enough to develop academic and workplace skills needed for career advancement.
Year to Career programs are relatively short-term (12 to 24 months), intensive, postsecondary experiences that result in career-track employment in high-demand, high-wage occupations with starting pay at or near 80 percent of the state median. “Fast track” program options like Year to Career are emerging to address the shortage of pathways toward quality employment for young people.
These programs, which share many characteristics, have early and encouraging track records. Key design features include:
- Streamlined and flexible curricula, the integration of remedial instruction into technical classes, and ongoing student counseling and supports;
- Strong employer connections, work-based learning, and paid internships; and
- College-level coursework needed to pursue an advanced degree or certification in a high-demand occupational area.
Year to Career models, including the nationally renowned Year Up program, feature a close partnership between employers and education and training providers. They move young people who need stronger and broader skills relatively quickly through learning and work experiences that attach them to good jobs in growth fields. Most important, these innovative efforts, usually operating through community colleges or nonprofit agencies, show impressive results for both young people and employers.