News Hub

Year Up

Year Up Gives You a Leg Up: Earn While You Learn

Mar 1, 2018

What do Rodan and Fields, Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Workday and Bio-Rad all have in common? These companies and many others have provided valuable paid work experience to Diablo Valley College students through the innovative Year Up program.

Career training in just one year

Year Up Bay Area Logo“Year Up offers a demand-driven model where we supply companies with a pipeline of skilled, motivated talent to meet their entry-level needs. Our students spend six months acquiring in-demand technical and professional skills, followed by a six-Adanta Ahanonumonth internship where they can apply what they’ve learned, build their network, and continue developing their skills,” said Adanta Ahanonu, Site Director of DVC’s Year Up program.

Year Up was founded in Boston in 2000, and has expanded to more than two dozen cities nationwide. This year marks the organization’s 10th anniversary in the Bay Area with sites in San Francisco, San Jose and Menlo Park as well as at Diablo Valley College. DVC’s Year Up site has the distinction of being the only Bay Area location set on a college campus.

“Year Up’s Bay Area location in Pleasant Hill brings together the strength of DVC as an educational institution, the demand for talent from our corporate partners, and career-readiness skills training of the Year Up program. Together we are transforming the landscape of opportunity for young adults, the hiring sources of business, and the empowerment of talent within our East Bay communities,” said Ahanonu.

How does it work?

Year Up students

Year Up is an intensive, one-year long technology training program that combines higher education with hands-on skill development via on-site internships at Bay Area companies. During the first semester, students complete courses with their DVC Year Up Learning Community. During the second semester, participants spend approximately 35 hours per week at one of Year Up’s corporate partner companies.

Year Up is unique when compared to many other work experience programs in that students are paid during their training and internship.

“Students earn stipend payments that are directly tied to the number of points they earn for a given week based on a contract students sign agreeing to dress professionally, show up on time, etc.,” said Ahanonu. During the first semester, students can earn up to $200 per month, and while working at their internship during the second semester, they can earn up to $1000 per month.

To participate in the Year Up program, applicants must have their high school diploma or GED, must be 18-24 years old, and must be eligible to work in the United States. They also need to either be enrolled at DVC, or interested in enrolling, and they need to be financial aid eligible. Participants should also have an interest in careers in technology as the classes and internships are geared towards this career area.

Year Up boasts a remarkable success rate with the kind of measurable results that get noticed. Ahanonu attributes this to their “high expectations, high support” model. She notes that more than 75 percent of participating students complete the entire 12-month program. “About half of our internship partners commit to hiring our students prior to them crossing the stage at graduation! 89 percent of Year Up Bay Area graduates are working or in school and earning an average of $24.43 per hour within four months of graduation,” said Ahanonu.

Ahanonu also points to the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) evaluation that measures Year Up’s impact on workforce and education outcomes, demonstrating a 53 percent wage gain after graduation and a 40 percent wage gain at two years after graduation.

Getting started

Interested in participating in the Year Up program? To get started, visit and complete the interest form. After submitting the interest form, register to attend an information session. Information sessions are held Wednesdays at 6pm to 7pm in the Engineering Technology Room 114 (ET-114). After attending the information session, you’ll receive a link to Year Up. For more information, call 925-204-4889 or email

Year Up Program

Jordan Maramag

Jordan MaramagJordan Maramag graduated from Deer Valley High School in Antioch in 2011. He tried his best to balance three jobs, college, and his personal life, but eventually he left DVC with hope that he could one day continue his education. A few of his friends had participated in the Year Up program and he checked in with them to see how they were doing.

“They all agreed that joining the program had a positive effect on their lives. I wanted to make a change in my life, so I decided to apply for the program,” said Maramag.

After joining the Year Up program, Maramag flourished academically and personally.

“The Year Up staff as a whole has been an incredible support system. Each staff member really tries their best to help you succeed. I want to give a big shout-out to my coach, Adanta. She helped me refine my professional skills, gave me great feedback, advice, and was just overall a great role model,” said Maramag.

Year Up students take more classes in a shorter period of time, enabling them to move quickly through the intensive training period. “Our cohort took eight classes in five months. My favorite class was, hands-down, Public Speaking. I learned a lot about myself and gained a lot of self-confidence after taking that class,” shared Maramag. After completing his first semester of the Year Up program, Maramag was placed at Okta as a Unified Communications Intern. In that role he serviced and maintained the technology in the company’s conference rooms, supported company events by controlling audio and visual devices, maintained and updated public screens, created playlists to improve the employee experience, and more.

“I just finished the [Year Up] program and I’m already enrolled for the fall semester at DVC. I met with a counselor and I’m on track to transfer to San Jose State University where I will earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science. I’m fortunate to say that I’ll be working for Okta as a full-time employee while attending school. They agreed to work around my school schedule, and are supporting me in other ways to ensure success in my academic career,” said Maramag. “I plan to stay with Okta for at least four years. They’re setting me up for success when it comes to my school, and the company is doing really well right now. For the long-term, I hope to lead my own team. I really love team dynamics, and I’ve learned that I’m good at collaborating with others and highlighting the strength of others. When it comes to tech, everything is new, and that excites me. I’ve grown so much in this industry and I want to continue to do so.”