IN US : ''The idea that tech jobs are going to create substantial middle-class anytime in the foreseeable future is unrealistic.''

The model at Year Up and the other nonprofit work-force ventures hinges on close ties with employers. The programs involve  work-based learning at companies to link training with employer needs, and thus hiring.

They typically teach both technical and ''soft skills'' like teamwork, confidence while speaking in public and household budgeting - a comprehensive formula that requires more time and money

It also requires a change in corporate hiring. Four-year college degrees remain a requirement at many companies.

In the last few years, some have dropped that hurdle for certain occupations, responding to a tight job market, calls for diversity and the success of programs like Year Up.

Accenture, a large consulting firm, has eliminated the degree requirement for a handful of job categories, mostly tech jobs. To train nondegree recruits, the company created an apprenticeship program.

Year up is a leading supplier to the Accenture apprenticeship program, and Kayla Usmani is one of the Year Up students Accenture  hired.

Before Year Up, she had no experience with technology, other than entering information into electronics forms in a low-wage job at a hospital. ''I was starting from zero'' she recalled. ''I really didn't know if I could do it.''

Mastering technology was one challenge. But, Mr. Usmani said, as was building the confidence to make presentations. speak up and ask questions, and begin  to feel comfortable in a tech-work  culture.

Ms. Usmani, 25, preserved and thrived.

In August, Accenture hired her as a software engineer associate. She is now working on data-collection and analysis project  at an insurer in Atlanta., and her goal is to become a data scientist.

She is also taking courses toward a bachelor's degree in information technology. Ms. Usmani, one of  11 children, would be the first of her family to earn a college degree.

''I wouldn't be where i am now without Year Up,'' she said.

Yet replicating success stories like hers in truly large numbers remains the big challenge. Mr. Fein, the lead investigator for the government study, said Year Up had delivered impressive results.

''But the question now,'' he said, ''is whether they can scale it up.''

The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Steve Lohr.


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