PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence nonprofit that helps disadvantaged youths is celebrating after their thousandth graduate crossed the stage.
For more than a decade, Year Up Providence has helped hundreds of people get the job training they need to lead a successful life.
Year Up runs a one-year, intensive training program aimed at helping low-income young adults receive an education.
Alumna of the program Dominique Fernandez said while she was a student, she was homeless.
“The students that you have coming into Year Up, a lot of them don’t have that family background, that support system, they’re at rock bottom just as I was,” Fernandez said. “I had applied for school and things went really south for that and it was kind of hard getting a job.”
The program led Fernandez to six months of technical and professional skill building, with the last six months completing an internship.
“They instilled a lot of customer service skills and a lot of confidence in me so that I could be able to have those conversations and have the backgrounds,” Fernandez added. “I also got some technical skills. I interned as desktop support, so I had to learn a lot of computers kills from there.”
Fernandez graduated from the program in 2012. Now, she works at Lifespan as a clinical support analyst.
“I have a more stable foundation, I have a full-time job, I have my own home now,” Fernandez said. “Year Up gave me more confidence, more bravery.”
Year Up’s Executive Director in Providence Cathy Doyle said more than 90% of its graduates have gone on to pursue full-time careers at leading companies or have enrolled in higher education.