Young Father Finds Year Up Arizona Program To Build Future For Himself And His Family

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Posted By on June 13, 2019
Diego with his wife and son

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and we have a truly inspiring story of a young father who has worked his way up to provide for his family.

Diego Wences graduated from the Year Up Arizona program in 2017 and was hired up by Bank of America following a 6-month internship. Two years later, Diego is thriving in his position with the bank and was able to purchase his first home. Diego closed on his new house in Phoenix on May 30, making him the first person in the family to own a home and pursue a higher education.  

He grew up in Phoenix, graduated from Trevor G. Browne High School and planned on attending community college. His high school counselor encouraged him to apply for the Year Up Arizona program, and he thought it must have been too good to be true. 

Year Up Arizona launched in 2015 to connect low-income young adults with livable-wage careers. Motivated individuals, ages 18 to 24, in Maricopa County take part in 6 months of professional and technical skills classes (everything from how to shake hands to how to fix a computer), followed by a 6-month internship at a top Valley employer such as American Express, TruWest Credit Union, Bank of America, PayPal and more.

He was accepted and studied the business operations track, and was placed in an internship with Bank of America as an operation analyst. He learned soft skills and business skills like Excel, Word and Power Point through Year Up, which helped him immensely in his job.  

Now, Diego is married with a one-year-old son. 

“I never thought I would have a job with a large corporation,” he said. “Year Up helped me gained new skills, confidence and pushed me to do my best. They have high expectations for their students and they provide support throughout the program. My goal is to stay with Bank of America and move up the corporate ladder.”

Diego’s advice to being successful is to always save and handle your money properly.

Year Up classes are taught in partnership with GateWay Community College and throughout the year, students receive an educational stipend to defray living expenses.  Upon completion of the program, Year Up students earn up to 30 transferable college credits and six months of direct career experience.    

Employed Year Up graduates earn an average starting wage of $17 per hour – the equivalent of $35,000 per year.  Since inception, Year Up Arizona has provided more than 650 young adults with in-demand skills, creating a pipeline of diverse, motivated talent for leading businesses in areas such as IT, Cyber Security, Business Operations and Computer Programming. The program now serves more than 200 young adults each year, with 90 percent of graduates employed or attending college full-time within four months of completing the program. 

For more information about Year Up Arizona, visit https://www.yearup.org/arizona

Jill Rivera

About Jill Rivera

Jill Rivera is a contributing writer for Frontdoors Media.

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