A single opportunity changed the trajectory of my life. I grew up in a single-parent household in Bloomington, Minnesota, where my mother worked three jobs to provide a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I played sports and performed well in school, but was not afforded the same opportunities as many of the students from the affluent families in the neighborhood. I had no tutor or lessons or college preparatory courses.

Fast forward to my junior year in high school — I was meeting with a counselor for Big Brothers Big Sisters who suggested I apply for an up-and-coming internship program in the Twin Cities. I applied, interviewed, and was admitted to Genesys Works. The 8-week intensive skills training had two components: the technical training provided hands-on instruction, while the professional skills training prepared me for success and bonded me to my peers and Genesys Works staff. After completing training, I was selected for an internship at Regis Corporation, the largest operator of hair salons in the world, where I focused on IT hardware troubleshooting.

As a high school senior, I attended school from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m, and then worked at my internship from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. I would finish my day with basketball practice or games after work. My internship was supplemented with individual counseling through Genesys Works’ College & Career Connections (CCC) program. My CCC coordinator was crucial in my college preparation process, from writing college essays to applying for scholarships and grants.

Because of Genesys Works, career opportunities and doors opened for me. I applied to 27 colleges and over 80 college scholarships. And it all paid off — I attained a full ride to college.

In college, I continued to see the benefit of my Genesys Works experience. I was inherently aware of and prepared for entering the professional world. I was equipped with resume and cover letter writing, networking, and interviewing skills. Because of my experience, I was afforded two internships at Fortune 500 corporations — Ernst & Young and Goldman Sachs. These college internships led me to my current full-time career path as an analyst at Goldman Sachs where I work on Exotic Structured Derivative products.

I tell you these things not to impress you, but to impress upon you the way in which Genesys Works impacts lives.

Students growing up in low-income environments too often do not know about career opportunities that exist and do not realize that a professional career is achievable. With Genesys Works, I have been able to actualize my true potential. I am living and direct proof of the success of Genesys Works.