Year Up Grad Luis Barroso Finds a Good Fit with Textron

September 2020

“I was 24-years-old and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I was working dead end job to dead end job, but none of them were careers.”

Luis Barroso, a graduate from Year Up’s January 2020 class and current human resource administrative assistant for Textron in Providence, RI, recalling how he became a part of the Year Up program. Luis is among thousands of young adults across the country who, with the help of Year Up, has been able to create a meaningful career for themselves.

For more than a decade, the Providence division of Year Up has worked towards making sure young adults can realize educational and employment opportunities that they may have thought were unattainable. In Rhode Island, the non-profit provides nearly 200 young men and women each year with the ability to gain real world experience in areas such as IT and business or healthcare operations.

During their time with Year Up, students are taught valuable skills they will use in the workplace and throughout their careers. Brigid Newman, associate director of Institutional Giving at the Providence division of Year Up, said the program provides students with the opportunity to build both hard and soft skills. Some of the “hard skills” include technical skills specifically suited for the career path they choose, while “soft skills” include business communications, time management, teamwork and more. “This training empowers our students with the attitudes, behaviors and communication skills needed to excel in the 21st-century,” Brigid said.

Luis said the classes he took during his first five months of Year Up prepare students for many different tracks and types of internships. With his Year Up training, he is now certified in many different fields and areas, which has given him valuable life and professional skills.

Following the formal education period, students them move to an internship with one of Year Up’s corporate partners, including Textron. These internships benefit not only the students, who get to utilize their skills and build relationships, but also the employers, who benefit from a “diverse talent pipeline that they can train to meet their business needs,” said Brigid.

Luis’ internship with Citizens Bank was focused on project management. Shortly into his internship, however, Luis realized this was not the career path he wanted. “I personally like helping people,” Luis said. He asked himself, “How do I make myself a better me so that I can make you a better you?” It is this mentality and outlook on life that helped Luis realize human resources was a great career path for him.

Not only does Year Up provide students with real world work experience, but the program also allows students to continue their academic careers with transferable college credits for all courses completed. Students are also eligible to earn educational stipends for living expenses on a bi-weekly basis. Brigid explained that these services are provided by Year Up’s Student Services team, which partners with other businesses and organizations in Rhode Island to support students in facing challenges while pursuing a degree.

With Textron’s focus on talent and employee development, the skills emphasized by Year Up makes it a great partner. The Textron Charitable Trust has provided grants to Year Up for more than 10 years and the Corporate office has utilized Year Up interns. Several Year Up interns with Textron are now full-time employees in our HR and IT departments. Others, like Luis, joined Textron after graduating from Year Up.  Textron employees have also volunteered with Year Up, serving as mock interviewers, reviewing resumes and mentoring students.

During Year Up’s graduation ceremony in January, Textron took notice of Luis, who served as the keynote speaker for his class. After a successful interview, he was hired and has been thriving in his role ever since.

“I definitely would not have gotten to this position [at Textron] or decision without the help of Year Up,” Luis said. Because of Year Up, Luis and so many others are advancing in their careers and doing valuable work that makes an impact on the world. “Work hard and make a commitment and you can do anything and work anywhere,” he said.