01:29 AM

Former Tech Exec Founder Of 'Year Up' Lifts Up The Lives Of Thousands


CBS News' 60 Minutes featured Gerald Chertavian, who sold his tech company Conduit in 1999, and has built a very successful philanthropic organization that lifts disadvantaged youth into low-end corporate jobs.

CBS News correspondent Morley Safer reports

He started something called Year Up -- a year-long jobs training boot camp for some of the country's most disadvantaged young people. And so far thousands of graduates are now working at companies like J.P. Morgan, American Express and Facebook. The result is that many of the country's most powerful CEOs are finding that they can do well by also doing good. 

The training produces graduates that can work in low-end IT services or in corporate administration jobs. This starts them on a path to greater success. Chertavian's "Year Up" has become a template for other jobs training programs.

Chertavian told 60 Minutes:

It so saddens me if someone would see our young adult on the street, and rather than think, "That's my next best employee," they clutch their wallet. And that happens. And part of this perception change is if enough young people see our students working the best companies, they'll change perception.

Foremski's Take: Where there is a will there's a way, is a powerful maxim and Gerald Chertavian has shown that philanthropy can work and can make a difference in the lives of thousands, with measurable and repeatable results.

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to tens of thousands of Chertavians, who've made fortunes in the tech industry yet they choose not make a difference in local neighborhoods, which suffer from the same issues of poverty, crime, and failing public schools, that are found across the country.

Silicon Valley should stop its claims of making a big difference in the world if its companies can't make changes on their own street corners. For example, East Palo Alto is an urban ghetto -- in every violent, urban definition of the term -- in the very heart of Silicon Valley. 

A couple, now living in San Francisco, told me they would often hear gun fire when they were outside in their hot tub in Atherton, in Steve Jobs' neighborhood. 

The indifference of companies that make a difference is astounding.

Twitter's demand for large tax breaks from San Francisco, or it will take its thousands of jobs to Brisbane, was a successful example of corporate hostage-taking. 

The golden doors of Twitter's HQ on mid-Market Street, open onto streets shared with the homeless, and where the working poor are being evicted while they struggle to feed and educate their kids. 

Its tens of millions in annual tax savings come out of the budgets of important city services and schools with 50% drop-out rates. Twitter would rather be a burden on its neighbors than ease the burden of others. 

Police should not sweep the homeless from the streets around mid-Market. That sharp smell of urine in the early morning will act as smelling salts, waking the empathy of our tech workers, and rousing them to action.

They'll come up with an app to help the helpless, or some other answer, but if they don't see any problems they won't do anything. 

The city should integrate its tech community and make them part of a solution that lifts all into a better future. 

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Please see: 

Is Segregation The New 'Gentrification'? SF Sweeps Locals From Twitter's Doorstep

Christmas Day On Twitter's Street - The Not-So-Sunny Side Of SF's Tech Boom