Mentors provide professional networks, outlets for frustration, college and career counseling, general life advice, and most importantly, an extra voice telling a student they are smart enough and capable enough to cross the stage at graduation and land their first paycheck from a career pathway job.
You have, unfortunately, a K-12 educational system where the requirements to graduate are not the requirements to be college and career-ready. So if you want young adults who are college and career-ready, our K-12 system right now does not have that as its standard.
You can learn what you want to learn through hard work. And a good employer will teach you what you want to learn as long as you show the right attitude and behaviors.
The millennial generation and a growing number of employees are looking for more than just a paycheck. If a nonprofit could make that easy for me, they are doing me a favor. It's not just a one-way value exchange; it is an internal morale building opportunity.
When we think about the workplace, people think about hard skills being dominant, but they're not. The employer realizes knowledge will shift quickly, and there's a half-life to knowledge in this world.
At Year Up, our students - low income 18-24 year olds - come to us having already faced substantial obstacles in life. They are not in search of a handout; what they want most of all is the ability to take ownership of their own futures.
The saying in business is that, 'You hire for skills and you fire for behavior.' And one would argue that in order to move up in career, to be promoted, to take on additional responsibility, in many ways that's linked more to the attitudes and behaviors that you carry rather than what you know technically about a given subject.
The best thing we can do is prepare people to lead in a much more diverse environment and see that as one of our national assets and one of the things that makes America strong.
Many of our students say, 'We wish we had a mentor in high school. We wish we had someone we could spend more time with, who paid more attention to us, who I could sit down with and talk to when I had a problem.' So relationships are critical.
Year Up for me is a year in which the young adults that we serve have an opportunity to move up in their lives and gain the access and opportunity they need to realize their potential.
It's not always the case that doing what's right is also doing what's smart, but when it is, the question of 'what to do' should be pretty simple.
College today is an expensive option without a lot of economies of scale, right, when you go and live at a college. So you have a system that's increasing its cost base by probably five percent a year.
Our young immigrants have a lot to offer. They are motivated and hard-working, and in many cases have already contributed significantly to our society - by excelling in school, by volunteering in their communities, or by serving in the military.