Year Up Chicago Class 8 Gears Up For Graduation

| Shelley Stern Grach

Photo via @YearUpChicago

Microsoft has had a long standing commitment to helping Youth acquire digital literacy skills for employment opportunities and improving their economic access. Our global YouthSpark program, which focuses on education, employability skills and entrepreneurial skills, provides a wide range of resources for Youth (and adults).

As part of our overall mission, our Chicago based Technology and Civic Engagement team supports local Chicago nonprofits that focus on skills in technology and the overall STEM and STEAM fields. With a goal to bridge the skills gap and the underlying opportunity divide, our partnerships with local programs bring with them a huge pride in the daily successes in providing opportunities to the greater public. Year Up Chicago is one of those programs.

Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with tYear Up Chicago Class 8 Gears Up For Graduationhe skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college credits. Year Up has been a national YouthSpark partner for the past 3 years. During this time, we have become close with the Chicago organization, and I am proud to say that I recently joined Year Up Chicago as a board member.

We’re pleased to announce that Year Up is celebrating the graduation of its 8th Class in Chicago this month. On January 28, Year Up’s latest group of talented young adults celebrate a year of hard work dedicated to bridging the opportunity divide and entering the workforce. And the results are promising — 85% of Year Up graduates are employed or attend college full time within four months of completing the program. We’re excited to see what these young professionals bring to the workforce in Chicago.

It’s one thing to go to your own child’s graduation and feel the emotions of their advancement in life. It’s equally as impactful to attend the graduation of these marvelous young people, who have demonstrated their eagerness to learn, their ability to juggle multiple priorities and their business and technical acumen to success with newly acquired 21st Century Skills.

Hats off to the 8th Class for all of your accomplishments. Hats off too to the Staff of Year Up, its dedicated board and all the volunteers and companies who support this terrific organization.

YouTube Video

Those interested in attending may register here. We look forward to joining you in this wonderful celebration.

Interested in our partnership with Year Up? Learn more on Year Up’s website.

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

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Shelley Stern Grach

They say that great work stems from a combination of passion and commitment, something that Shelley certainly possesses when it comes to her life and career. She currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Business Development Center, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Thrive Chicago, Year Up and LISC Chicago. At Microsoft Chicago, she’s the Director of Civic Engagement, working at the intersection of computing and community, promoting STEM programs and using Microsoft technology to spur growth in the community. So no matter if it's work, play, or giving back, Shelley always makes sure her drive and professionalism help her complete her life's goals.