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Year Up

Case Study: Year Up

[Practice] helps me build confidence. I've always been incredibly uncomfortable having difficult conversations with colleagues. For me, I definitely saw an immediate effect in my own confidence and feeling like I had a clear way to frame conversations, which beforehand was not how I felt.”

Elizabeth Pearson

Academic Manager and Business Communications Instructor

“The interaction that people were able to experience with each other is very relevant to our culture in terms of how we want people to interact. We talk about being ‘one Year Up’ all the time, and I think the system really allowed for that in a way that helped to build community or to help share new ways of thinking … We’re in lots of different locations and serving young adults in different ways and we want to not just be franchises but one organization marching to the same beat … [Through Practice] I got to see it both in terms of people being excited … but also as an Instructor getting to see how this person gave feedback to this person and it was caring and thoughtful and, hey, they didn’t even know each other beforehand.”

Kailey Cartwright

Director, Training Academy

Year Up boosts critical managerial soft skills, employee confidence, and consistency with organizational value structure.

The Challenge

Year Up’s mission is to “close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.” Participants go through an intensive skills training program and take on corporate internships at top companies to apply their newly learned skills and gain valuable experience. While going through a period of rapid growth, Year Up struggled to provide efficient and effective training for their employees and were reliant on in-person training for role-play and providing performance feedback, which was expensive, took time away from supporting Year Up students, and offered limited opportunity for frequent practice of skills.

The Solution

Year Up and Practice partnered to provide training courses for managers, program managers, and student recruitment & admissions representatives in honing targeted soft skills for each learning group, specifically communication skills. Managers and program managers focused on having difficult conversations, giving performance reviews, promotions, and providing feedback. Student recruitment & admissions representatives practiced pitching Year Up and describing the program to prospective students, all while remaining consistent with the Year Up value structure.

The Result

By using Practice, Year Up scaled and increased the amount of personalized feedback received. Since peer feedback mirrored instructor or expert assessment, participants had the opportunity to practice without relying solely on experts for feedback. The team reported that their confidence levels were increased, their behavior was directly changed, and learning from their peers enriched their own strategies and practice as a result of using the Practice platform.


The social interaction aspect reflected Year Up’s own culture in relation to their focus on helping build community and share new ways of thinking. With geographically dispersed teams, using Practice helped the Year Up team feel like “one organization marching to the same beat” instead of just a franchise. Employees were also better prepared to hold difficult conversations.