By: Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune
The Twin Cities chapter of Genesys Works, the national career-training nonprofit that places disadvantaged high school students in paid internships, said 318 Twin Cities students were hired this month for one-year, 20-hour-a-week paid internships with 56 Twin Cities companies.
A summer of learning, preparation and job interviews culminated in the tenth annual “Draft Day,” a sports-style event that showcased the students and the employers last week.
“I know that I and the class of 2020 will remember this day as … one of the days we prove to ourselves and those around us that we can achieve anything, said student Gabriela Solis.
Jaime Flores, an incoming senior at Burnsville High School, hired by Best Buy, told attendees that he also will be the first in his family to attend college.
Many of the high school students began their 20-hour-a-week jobs this week.
“You will be supervised and mentored by people who support you and mentor you and believe in you,” Karen Marben, executive director of Gensys Works Twin Cities, told those gathered at the event. “Draft Day is all about preparing the workforce of tomorrow. It was exhilarating to see corporate partners welcome our young professionals after eight weeks of skills training. By connecting these companies to our motivated students, we are building a more diverse workforce for the future.”
Since 2008, Genesys Works Twin Cities, working with corporate and nonprofit partners, has placed more than 2,100 high school students who completed training and earned a year-long internship. The goal is to help young people from underserved communities see that a professional career is within reach. Similarly, employers in a worker-short economy are interested in trainable high school graduates. And minorities are the fastest-growing portion of the Twin Cities labor market. Some Genesys graduates have been hired after their internships and high school, or after college, by participating and other companies.
Genesys Twin Cities said 91 percent of the trainees are minority students. Trainees average earnings of about $13,000 in wages at their internships . More than 75% also will be first-generation college students. Genesys graduates boast a median income of about $50,000 after they become permanently employed.
More than 1,700 people attended the event at Saint Paul RiverCentre, including St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Target CIO Mike McNamara, and York Solutions CEO Richard Walker.
Here’s a snapshot of the festivities: https://youtu.be/m4_x2lJjOjk