City Year puts the focus on students, instead of passwords & provisioning

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Per year IT savings

<1 month

Payback period



City Year's Journey

“Make better happen” describes the attitude of City Year’s AmeriCorps members, who help underserved U.S. students reach their potential and graduate from high school. To support that mission, City Year called on Okta to help secure student data, while reducing the barriers keeping members from accessing the Salesforce, Workday, and Microsoft tools they use every day.

Most of our staff is working at a remote school partner site. It was incredibly important for all of our AmeriCorps members and staff to have access around the clock, and to have it be seamless. Okta was the piece that pulled it all together for us.

Christine Sullivan, VP , City Year

The Situation

With 3,000 new AmeriCorps members each year, manual provisioning and password reset requests were a time-consuming chore for City Year IT administrators. CIO Welles Hatch realized that a reliable identity management solution could help transform the entire organization—securing student data while helping corps members access applications from any device, anywhere.

City Year Tutor

The Solution

City Year deployed Okta in June of 2012 and today, AmeriCorps members can access critical resources whether they are in the library or sitting at a lunch table. With Okta, City Year’s IT environment sets a high bar for protecting sensitive student data, and manual provisioning and password reset requests have been nearly eliminated.

“We love that Okta is completely invisible to the user,” says Hatch. With Okta running behind the scenes, the focus stays squarely on City Year’s brand—and on its reputation for student success.

The ROI of City Year's Okta Investment

Annual IT savings: More than $120k.

City Year realized a dramatic decrease in the amount of time IT admins spend provisioning and deprovisioning staff & AmeriCorps volunteer accounts. After deploying Okta, password-reset requests decreased by 95%, which translated to more than $120K in annual IT savings.

Annual productivity increase: More than $175k.

With Okta, City Year staff & AmeriCorps members can consistently access (and SSO into) the tools they need to help students. Not being locked out of critical applications has also been great for morale.

Annual security and compliance savings: $130k.

While the ultimate value of protecting sensitive information and reducing the risk of a security breach is hard to estimate, Hatch calculates a security-related savings of $130k with the Okta solution. Today, City Year administrators can quickly document and run security compliance reports, see who has access to which applications, and deprovision accounts.

City Year realized more than 1000% ROI within a month of deploying Okta Enterprise Edition.

About City Year

City Year is a national non-profit supporting students in underserved communities, to help increase graduation rates, and bridge the gap between students and their potential. Each year, City Year recruits AmeriCorps members, who provide individualized academic, emotional, and social support to students during the school year. The organization’s research and data-driven approach makes a big impact in the lives of the students and communities it serves, and on the national education conversation.