Operation Exit

Mayor Martin J. Walsh launched Operation Exit in 2014 to give young people returning from incarceration a second chance to improve their lives. Operation Exit trains these young people for successful new careers in building trades, culinary arts, web development, or professional pathways. Participants receive a stipend and individualized case management while they learn new job skills. They also benefit from the support of a team of partners dedicated to their success, including YOU Boston, the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety, and the Boston Police Department.

Each year YOU Boston typically runs multiple cycles of Operation Exit, each focused on a specific industry. Availability of particular industry-focused cycles varies year to year. Learn more about each of the four kinds of Operation Exit cycles below.

Building Trades

Training Partner: Building Pathways
Duration: 3 weeks
Training: Learn construction trades at union training centers and site visits. Boots, safety googles, hard hats, and transit passes are provided.
Jobs: Apprenticeships with such unions as carpenters, iron workers, painters, sheet metal workers, and pipefitters.
Post-Placement Wages: $19-24/hour

Culinary Arts

Training Partner: NECAT
Duration: 16 weeks
Training: Learn food safety and sanitation, knife skills, and advanced cooking and baking techniques in a professional training kitchen.
Jobs: Graduates go on to take jobs as bakers, line cooks, prep cooks, caterers, sous chefs, and the like.
Post-Placement Wages: $14-15/hour

Professional Pathways

Training Partner: City of Boston
Duration: 6 months
Training: Gain essential office skills as interns in city government. Acquire exposure to the office enviornment, new networks, references, and resume highlights.
Jobs: Interns work in such city departments as the Office of Economic Development, Boston Elderly Commission, Office of Immigrant Advancement, Boston Election Department.
Post-Placement Wages: $15-18/hour

Web Development

Training Partner: Resilient Coders
Duration: 8 weeks
Training: Learn the basics of web coding and prepare to apply for competitive coding bootcamps or paid internships at Resilient Coders.
Jobs: Graduates can enter extended training at such bootcamps as the Startup Institute, Launch Academy, or Resilient Coders.
Post-Placement Wages: $18-22/hour

Operation Exit Outcomes


Placement Rate


Job Retention Rate


Avg. Wage


Two-Year Recidivism Rate

Want to Apply?

Applicants must be 18+ and have their high school diploma or HiSET. Use the button below to apply to, or refer someone to, Operation Exit.

Apply to Operation Exit

Other Special Initiatives

YOU Boston is always seeking creative new opportunities for youth to gain workforce and essential life skills. As part of this effort, YOU Boston launches new initiatives with community partners from time to time. Check back for updates on new special initiatives.