Year Up founder Gerald Chertavian to speak at Bellevue College Foundation luncheon

Date posted: February 15, 2013

Gerald Chertavian, founder of Year Up, a nationwide network of training and education programs for low-income young adults, will be the featured speaker at Bellevue College Foundation’s 14th Annual “Become Exceptional” Luncheon in May. The event, which raised nearly $280,000 last year, provides crucial funding for academic- and need-based scholarships, as well as programs that support quality educational opportunities for all BC students. More than 1,000 community and business leaders are expected to attend the luncheon, the foundation’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Deborah Horne, a reporter and producer at KIRO TV, will emcee the event.

Chertavian began his career in banking on Wall Street and, after earning an MBA from Harvard University, co-founded Conduit Communications, which he helped grow to $20 million in annual revenues with 130 employees in three countries. After selling the company in 1999, he combined his business and entrepreneurial skills with his passion for working with young people to found Year Up.

Year Up is an intensive, one-year training and education program that provides low-income young adults, ages 18 to 24, with a combination of hands-on skills development, college credits and corporate internships. Since its inception in 2000, Year Up has served over 4,000 individuals, with the vast majority employed or attending college full-time within four months of completing the program. With an annual operating budget exceeding $50 million, Year Up is one of the fastest growing non-profits in the nation, and has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the top 25 organizations using business excellence to effect social change.

From its roots in Boston, Year Up now has programs in ten cities across the country, including in the Seattle/Puget Sound region. As an academic partner with the organization, Bellevue College awards college credit to students who successfully complete a curriculum taught by Year Up. Bellevue College faculty and administrators collaborated with Year Up staff to develop this curriculum based on certain BC computer courses. While in the program, participants can take advantage of many services offered to BC students, including tutoring, student leadership opportunities and athletics. Additionally, BC provides reduced-cost bus passes, assistance with application and enrollment, career advising, and campus tours for participants. Once they complete Year Up, participants can then use the college credits they earned to continue their education at Bellevue College, or transfer to another college or university, as they work toward a degree or certificate.



What:  Bellevue College Foundation’s 14th Annual “Become Exceptional” Luncheon

Where:  Meydenbauer Center, 11100 NE 6th St. in Bellevue

When:  Wednesday, May 1; doors open at 11:30 a.m., program is 12 to 1:30 p.m.

Cost:  Free to attend; guests are encouraged to make a donation at the event

RSVP:  Call (425) 564-2386; email; or online at

More information:  Visit