Prospects for young adults without postsecondary credentials have steadily worsened in recent decades. With few chances at well-paying jobs, millions give up on school and withdraw from the labor force. Training low-skilled young adults for good entry-level jobs in growing fields is a critical goal for policymakers, training providers, and employers.
Under the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study, the Abt team evaluated Year Up, a national training program for adults 18-24. Year Up provides six months of technical training followed by a six-month internship in information technology or finance jobs, and participants receive weekly stipends. An implementation study examined the program’s design, operation, and student participation patterns. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) impact study measured effects on employment and educational outcomes for a national sample of 2,544 young adults. Students assigned to the study’s treatment group could access Year Up training and internships; control group members were not allowed to enroll in Year Up.
Treatment group members averaged nearly $8,000 (33 percent) more in annual earnings than control group members in the last of the five years analyzed--among the largest reported in an RCT for such programs. Year Up generated $1.66 in net benefits for every dollar spent. The program increased the percentages of young adults working in information technology and finance services jobs.