It’s a draft day that even the NFL would envy.

On August 16, Genesys Works, a non-profit social enterprise changing the trajectory of life for disadvantaged high school students, hosted its fifth annual “Draft Day.” Amidst celebratory music and endless cheers, 259 high school seniors who completed Genesys Works’ summer training program were placed into paid, year-long IT internships at 54 corporations across the Twin Cities. The students’ 20-hour work schedule begins in August 2016 and continues through their high school graduation until they begin their post-secondary studies in August 2017.

Since 2008, Genesys Works has continued to grow the number of students served across the Twin Cities, with 1,300 high school students completing training and earning a year-long corporate internship. Of the students who complete their internship, 96% have enrolled in college and 75% have graduated or are persisting in college.

“Draft Day is our favorite day of work of the entire year!” said Karen Marben, Executive Director of Genesys Works – Twin Cities. “We celebrate the students’ hard work during the eight weeks of summer training and match them with their new workplace supervisors who will become really important mentors to enable the students to reach their full potential. The newly-drafted young professionals in the Genesys Works Class of 2017 are filling a critical workforce gap in the technology teams of our corporate partners.”

Held at the Saint Paul RiverCentre, this high-energy event drew an attendance of 1,200 people, including students’ families and friends, community members, board members and workplace supervisors and representatives from 54 Twin Cities’ corporations who partner with Genesys Works. Target was the presenting sponsor of the event, in addition to support from Optum, Medica, Ecolab and ServiceNow.

To quote the Genesys Works interns: “What are we going to do? Break through!”

You can view photos from Draft Day 2016 here and view a social media summary of the event here.

If you would like to sponsor Draft Day 2017, you can contact Matt BostonDevelopment Director, at mboston@genesysworks.org.

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