Disadvantaged Students Get Life-Changing Work Experience With Top Bay Area Employers

October 21, 2016


Bay Area

More than 100 students begin internships at 25 companies through Genesys Works
in program designed to close the opportunity and skills gap with support from AT&T



SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 26, 2016 — More than 100 disadvantaged high school students from San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose are now starting life-changing internships in IT, accounting, engineering, marketing and other fields with some of the region’s top employers including AT&T, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, PG&E and others. The internships are the capstone of an innovative, year-long training and work experience program from non-profit Genesys Works that is helping to bridge the opportunity gap for hundreds of low-income students and fill the skills gap for dozens of major employers in the Bay Area and beyond.

“Young Americans are experiencing unemployment rates at least twice the national average, even here in the Bay Area – the innovation capital of the world,” said Peter Katz, Executive Director, Genesys Works Bay Area. “With support from companies like AT&T, GenesysWorks is helping to give some our region’s most disadvantaged students their first ‘big break,’ empowering them with both the skills and work experience they need to succeed in college and a professional career.”

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Genesys Works has trained more than 320 students and placed nearly 250 students in year-long meaningful internships across the Bay Area since 2013. Ninety-eight percent of students have gone directly to college after completing the program, with 68 percent going to 4-year schools. Forty-one percent of alumni have pursued degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). This academic year, the program will provide more than 100 students with meaningful work experience at 25 companies including AT&T, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, PG&E and others.

“STEM jobs are driving the economy and employers like AT&T have a growing need for diverse talent with the skills to compete in the knowledge-based economy,” said Ken McNeely, President, AT&T California. “AT&T is proud to support this program, which is helping to bridge both the skills gap for employers and the opportunity gap for students who lack access to the learning and experience they need to pursue a career in the innovation economy.”

As one of Genesys Works largest supporters, AT&T has invested a total of $6 million in the organization since 2012 as a part of AT&T Aspire, its signature philanthropic initiative. AT&T has also helped the program expand into the San Francisco Bay Area and recently funded an initiative to help open new programs in another 15 cities nationwide by 2022—serving up to 11,000 new students. The program currently serves students in Houston, Chicago, Twin Cities, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington’s National Capital Region. In the Bay Area, Genesys Works serves students in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.

“Before this program, I would have told you that I never could gain IT skills, give a speech every week, and become more professional,” said Leysmi Saldana, Cohort 4 Young Professional and intern at AT&T. “Now, Genesys Works is s a place that I can call my second home. It has allowed me to break out and to be who I truly am.”

Genesys Works boasts a remarkable success rate. To date, 100 percent of participating students have graduated from high school and 98 percent have been accepted into college. The organization recently surveyed program graduates with full time jobs who graduated five or more years ago and found their median annual income is $50,000. That’s about $10,000 more than the median income for the U.S. population of 25-34-year-olds.*

*National Center for Education Statistics, 2016

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we’ve passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.

About Genesys Works
Genesys Works is a non-profit social enterprise changing the trajectory of life for disadvantaged high school students through meaningful work experiences. Its program consists of eight weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college. Its goal is to move more students out of poverty and into professional careers, creating a more productive and diverse workforce in the process. Since its founding in 2002, Genesys Works has grown to serve nearly 3,000 students annually in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington’s National Capital Region.   To learn more, visit genesysworks.org.

For more information contact:

Steve Ramirez, AT&T
(415) 530-9027

Peter Katz, Genesys Works
(415) 442-0280

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