Year Up Promotes Ellen McClain to President to Lead Organization in Scaling Access to Opportunity for Young Adults and Impact on Employer Systems

National workforce development organization has delivered the largest impact on earnings ever reported in a randomized controlled trial; now seeks to serve ten times as many students annually by 2030

The national workforce development organization Year Up announced that it has promoted Ellen McClain to President to lead Year Up as it pursues the next phase of its growth strategy, focusing on increasing access to opportunity for young adults and impact on employer systems. For the past seven years, Ellen has applied deep executive leadership skills, first as CFO and most recently as COO, to help the organization successfully navigate double-digit growth in students served, sustain itself through a pandemic, and advance an internal diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging practice. Founder Gerald Chertavian will continue to serve as CEO, working in close partnership with McClain.

“As President, Ellen’s collaborative leadership style, results orientation and high standards for operational excellence will enable us to reach even more young people on the wrong side of the Opportunity Divide, and ensure their continued progress in the workplace,” said Chertavian. “Ellen’s personal connection to our mission, capacity to manage complexity, and commitment to nurturing a culture of belonging for a diverse workforce will remain critical to our long-term success.”

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“This is an exciting time for Year Up, which benefits from the tremendous support of corporate partners, philanthropic investors, and Year Up graduates who believe as we do, that it’s possible to remove the barriers that prevent so many young people from securing family-sustaining jobs,” said McClain. “Leveraging our deep relationships with the business world, we want to connect and collaborate within a broad ecosystem of training providers, community colleges, workforce coalitions and beyond to support young people who have talent but lack access to affordable education, training and corporate connections. At Year Up, we strive to create an environment in which employees and students are seen, heard and respected for all aspects of their identity. In advancing our strategy, we want employers to gain access to the diverse talent they need and, ideally, best practices for creating thriving multi-racial, multi-ethnic cultures of belonging become the corporate norm.”

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Nationwide, 80 percent of Year Up graduates are employed or attending college within four months of completing the program, with average starting salaries of $48,000/year. In May 2022, the federally-sponsored Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) follow-up evaluation of Year Up showed that in the six years post-program, young adults randomly assigned to Year Up earned 30 percent more compared with similar young adults in a control group — the largest impact on earnings reported to date for a workforce program tested in a randomized controlled trial.

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