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Nonprofit That Teaches Professional Skills Comes To Jacksonville

Year Up

A national nonprofit program that partners with businesses to provide professional services for at-risk youth has a new chapter in Jacksonville.

Year Up accepts a limited number of students, from ages 18 to 24, who have the desire to expand upon their professional skill set. The students must have at least a high school GED.

The nonprofit has put 23 students through training at Florida State College at Jacksonville. The classes prepare students for careers in office management, telecommunications, banking and other industries.

During an appearance on WJCT's “First Coast Connect,” Executive Director Robin Watson and Associate Director of Partner Relations Tiffany McDonald talked about Jacksonville’s Year Up chapter.

“We chose Jacksonville because Jacksonville has a very large poverty average,” Watson said. “We want to make a big dent in that with opportunity youth.”

McDonald says Year Up partners with both national and local businesses like Bank of America, Ally and Everbank.

“Our partnership is about [improving] the academic acumen of students and giving them the skillset to be able to perform entry level professional jobs,” Watson said.

Watson says the success of Year Up is based upon the perspective if you hold students to high expectations and give them ample support, they will be exceptional professionals.

Year Up plans to have a ribbon cutting ceremony this Thursday at Florida State College at Jacksonville downtown at 10 a.m.

Watson says the purpose of the ceremony is to introduce the nonprofit chapter to the Jacksonville community.

Listen to the full conversation with Robin Watson and Tiffany McDonald on Tuesday’s episode of the “First Coast Connect” podcast on iTunes.