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Bay Area Proud

Inspiring stories of people making a difference

Bay Area Non-Profit Working To Close Skills Gap

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Millions of young people in the country are unemployed at the same time millions of jobs are unfilled. What's the problem? The youth don't have the skills the jobs require. Year Up Bay Area is trying to fix that. (Published Friday, Sep 20, 2013)

    Every day, Ellie Hall heads up 27 floors above the streets of San Francisco to take her seat at her job at Salesforce.com.

    For Ellie, though, that is not just a commute, it's her life story.

    Living on the streets with her mother and three siblings is exactly where Ellie, 22, was just five years ago. The family had just returned from years living in Central America.

    "It's difficult to re-enter the United States on child support and simply land on your feet," Ellie says. "So, my mother and siblings and I were basically on the streets of San Francisco for six months."

    How Ellie ended up going from homeless to fully employed, has a lot to do with Year Up Bay Area.

    What Year Up Bay area does is take 18-to-24-year-olds from low-income backgrounds and spend five months intensively teaching them the skills they are going to need to succeed in the business world. The young people are then placed in internships with a number of Bay Area companies, like Salesforce.com.

    Their track record turning those internships into jobs is impressive. Of the 80 interns who have been placed over the years with Salesforce.com, close to half of them have been offered positions with the company once their internships were over. It is what happened with Ellie.

    "I'm so proud of Ellie," says Ebony Frelix, Salesforce's Director of IT Business Operations and mentor to the Year Up interns. "She's taken a talent and a gift that she has naturally and taken it to the next level."

    It isn't, however, Ellie's final level. She already has plans for what is next in her life. She is applying to attend UC Berkeley next fall.