Students from underserved communities receive career support from high school to hire
Washington, DC— This semester, many high school seniors in the National Capital Region returned to in-person school sessions following months of virtual classes. For the last 18 months, these students were impacted by a global health pandemic and a racial reckoning that the country experienced. Students participating in youth workforce development nonprofit Genesys Works, which provides career pathways for high school students from underserved communities and a diverse pipeline to companies seeking skilled talent, will also begin paid internships at top regional employers, including Accenture, Intelsat, and Kratos.
“Our current cohort of students wrapped up eight weeks of intense summer preparation for their internship placements,” said Selvon Waldron, Executive Director for Genesys Works in the National Capital Region. “They worked hard to ensure that the pandemic didn’t deflate their dreams.”
Through Genesys Works’ innovative, training and year-long work experience program, students receive technical and professional life skills training, college and career coaching and have the opportunity to earn $10,000 to $15,000 from paid internships. The nonprofit also provides a solution for companies actively seeking diverse talent and opportunities to increase jobs that boost local economies.
“The pandemic disproportionately affected youth aged 16 to 24,” said Scott Tinkler, North American Utilities Lead at Accenture and current Genesys Works board member. “Our commitment is to provide opportunities for our young professionals to make a significant impact at our firm and gain valuable experiences at the same time.”
Accenture is entering its sixth year of partnership with the nonprofit and recently offered Genesys Works intern Joseph Salih a full-time role.
“I wasn’t sure what career path I was going to take after high school until my teachers suggested I get connected to the Genesys Works program,” said Salih. “My first internship exposed me to the workplace and provided clarity on my plans after high school and the career I wanted to pursue.”
After Joseph completed his initial internship with Accenture Federal Services, the company extended his internship through college.
“My internships at Accenture gave me the real-world work experience I needed,” said Salih. “Combined with what I was taught in college, I was confident that I would stand out as a strong candidate.”
In May, Joseph graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and Project Management from George Mason University, and soon after, Accenture offered him a full-time position.
Another business benefiting from a partnership with Genesys Works is Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, which recently hired intern Thien Huynh, a recent graduate of John R. Lewis High School.
Phil Carrai, President of Kratos’ Space, Training & Cybersecurity Division describes what the partnership entailed.
“I am not surprised that Thien was hired. Genesys Works students are high-performing high school seniors. The program’s staff work directly with our supervisors to develop the internship job descriptions and support the high school interns with college preparation skill building throughout their year with us.”
Ninety-eight percent of interns are students of color, 81% qualify for free or reduced lunch and 79% are first generation college goers.
With his new job offer, Thien entered college this week.
“I have acquired valuable skills in problem-solving and team work in the last year that I will take to college,” said Huynh. “My supervisor at Kratos is an excellent mentor too. I learned so much.”
In 2020, interns from Genesys Works National Capital Region earned a total of $346,000 during their internships, which enabled them to save for college or contribute financially to their households. Twenty-eight percent of interns earned more than both of their parents combined.
Marty Rogers, Senior Managing Director with Accenture is proud of the partnership. “We know that once these interns get introduced to companies like ours, they are more likely to pursue careers with us during and after college” Marty said. “We don’t want to lose talent being trained right here in our region. Their diversity is a value add and young professionals increase our ability to continue to be innovative, way into the future.”