ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – Having four jobs and going to college is no easy task. It was so difficult that Da’Jua Quarterman was ready to throw in the towel. Fortunately, help came when she least expected it.
Quarterman, 21, a student at St. Petersburg College, saw an ad on campus for nonprofits Year on and decided to apply.
“I was at an all-time low and really needed a new opportunity to get myself out of this room,” said Quarterman. “Year Up was able to give me the information I didn’t even know I needed. It gave me a boost and got me where I was.”
Year Up is a national not for profit and was not located in the Tampa Bay area until March 2019. They started on site just in time to get Quarterman out of their break-in.
“I probably wouldn’t even be in school by now. Without the program, I would probably have given it up,” said Quarterman. “They taught me how to communicate professionally. They really built you up, and we have a thing called lifting while you climb.”
According to Year Up, their mission statement is to “bridge the gap by ensuring that young adults acquire the skills, experience and support that will enable them to reach their potential through careers and higher education.”
“We train them, give them an educational stupidity that we work with St. Petersburg College. So they earn college credits, then earn that educational grant and prepare them for an internship with one of our corporate partners, “said Fred Rosario, Site Director of Year Up Tampa Bay.
“Immigration (problems) or childcare or debts or tuition fees. We’re looking for resources to ensure that if a student can join our program because it’s so challenging, we want to minimize as much of the outside world as possible. So that they can.” Succeed in what they ultimately want to do. “
The non-profit association is looking for talented, motivated students from families with low to middle income. The aim is to bridge the gap in opportunities that students from wealthier families do not have to overcome.
According to Year Up statistics, their model works. They have 35 locations across the country, the average starting salary for year up graduates is $ 42,000, and 90% of graduates are employed and enrolled in post-secondary education within four months of graduation.
Quarterman goes to school and works full time with the New York Life Insurance Company.
Her position allows her to only work one job, not four.
Her life and future are now on track with the life she wants to live.
“I have nowhere else to go but up from here,” Quarterman said. “I mean, I see myself evolving in the insurance industry and ultimately providing a service to those who may need future insurance. Never give up. I almost did, but luckily the year-up program picked me up and did brought me to where I am. “