APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
In the first year of the PTC, students will attend community college full-time; over the summer and the second year, they will work full-time in an internship with a local company and continue to attend college part-time. Year Up will provide credit-bearing PTC-specific courses as well as internship placement and support. Students will earn their associate's degrees at the end of the second year. The PTC will prepare them to pursue careers in finance, information technology, office support, green jobs, and healthcare.
The PTC will closely link education and work experience, creating an "honors program" feel that will incorporate the central tenets of Year Up's model: contextualized learning so that students understand the relevance of their education; professional soft skills in communications, critical thinking, and teamwork; attachment to the local labor market and stipends so that they can support themselves and their families while pursuing education; high expectations that reflect the standards they'll encounter in the workplace; and social and emotional support - through a cohort or "Learning Community" model and wrap-around supports like advisors and mentors - needed to persist.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
In 2012 and early 2013, Year Up will establish partnerships and finalize the design of the PTC. Year Up will begin serving students at a community college in the 2013-14 academic year. By 2016, Year Up will have directly served 300 young adults at the college and developed a model capable of scaling to serve 100,000 young adults per year - for example, by expanding to 140-200 of the country's 1,100+ community colleges, and scaling within each community college to serve 500-750 students annually. The PTC will be able both to create a professionally-oriented culture at the community colleges at which it resides and also to share its best practices more broadly with community colleges in the United States.
A recent report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce estimates that 63 percent of all jobs will require postsecondary education by 2018, and that the United States is poised to fall short of the needed number of college-educated workers by 3 million (Carnevale, Help Wanted, 2010). At the same time, only about 30 percent of African Americans and 20 percent of Latinos in their mid-20s have earned an associate's degree or higher (Pathways to Prosperity, 2011). Basic inequalities in this country will persist unless many more minority and low-income individuals gain postsecondary credentials or degrees. Furthermore, businesses will not be able to access the skilled workers they need, and our economic competitiveness will continue to be threatened. Year Up will address these dual issues through the Professional Training Corps by targeting low-income, minority young adults and putting them on a clear pathway to obtaining a degree and developing relevant professional skills.