Overcoming setbacks: Year Up

Jul 26, 2023

After facing countless setbacks when his athletic career didn’t go as planned, Carnel discovered his passion for tech through Year Up’s Accelerated Model in Philadelphia.

Everyone knew Carnel Harley as an athlete. Growing up in Philadelphia, he excelled in football and basketball, going on to play wide receiver at Slippery Rock University in Western Pennsylvania and preparing to showcase his talents to NFL scouts. Everyone saw athletics as Carnel’s dream, his ticket, his career—but he wanted something different. “I was living the life that other people wanted me to live,” Carnel said. “But what did I want to do?”

Carnel had always been intrigued by technology, but his interest took a backseat to athletics. Then, his NFL pro day at Slippery Rock didn’t go as planned due to an ankle injury, and his beloved great-grandmother died. Carnel found himself adrift, working at warehouse jobs, living out of his car, and yearning for support.

“I said to myself, this is not where I want to be,” Carnel said. “I didn’t want jobs anymore. I was ready to step into a career.”

He discovered Year Up on LinkedIn and applied. “With the Accelerated Model, I decided to commit to seven months of growth and take the steps to make the reality I wanted for myself,” Carnel said. “I was hungry to get into an internship and get that work experience, and I knew the time was now.”

Through Year Up’s Accelerated Model in Philadelphia, Carnel has stepped into his dream: a career in technology and the opportunity to help others find their passions. The Accelerated Model compresses Year Up’s traditional 12-month cycle into seven months, giving participants a chance to gain vital professional and technical skills and then more quickly start their work-based experience.

He completed three months of learning and development training in information technology and is now in a four-month internship at TE Connectivity as an Information Security Analyst. In that role, he communicates between the technology and business sides of the company and works with governance and risk management.  After he finishes his internship, Carnel hopes to find a full-time job in cybersecurity and eventually launch his own nonprofit.

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