About Grads of Life & Our Work

Our History

A national initiative of Year Up, Grads of Life began in 2014 as a PSA campaign in partnership with the Ad Council. Founders Elyse Rosenblum and Shawn Bohen, both early leaders in the inclusive employment movement, recognized what remains our north star: The best way to connect all Americans to opportunity is to leverage the power of the private sector. The PSA campaign was the first step. It showcased the potential of young, diverse talent who lack college credentials but bring the skills, experience and growth mindset to take companies into the future. 

The PSA was viewed over a billion times, and two years later the movement saw a big milestone as President Obama prioritized youth employment and skills training with a $10 billion investment. 

As support grew, so did Grads of Life. In 2017, we published “Dismissed by Degrees,” a flagship report co-authored with Harvard Business School and Accenture. “Dismissed by Degrees” was the first piece of research to uncover the true cost of degree inflation to business and advocate for a shift to skills-first practices, and remains frequently cited.  

Since 2017, Grads of Life has expanded our thought leadership practice to become a full-scale business consultancy. But we remain true to our roots as a social enterprise, working with other nonprofit partners and business coalitions to make inclusive and equitable employment the norm. 

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We are committed to sharing the lessons we learn as we work with corporate America
to build skills-first talent strategies and inclusive cultures.