Study: High School Workforce Development Program Proven a Wise Investment

May 16, 2017

Press Release

Columbia University Study Shows Genesys Works Leads to More College Degrees, Higher Incomes, and Greater Economic Growth

May 16, 2017, Houston, Texas – A new Columbia University study shows that investment in year-round, meaningful internship programs and workforce training for high school students pays off – with a social return on investment 13 times the original investment.

The study, conducted by Clive R. Belfield of the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education at the Columbia University Teachers College, measured the social return on investment for Genesys Works, a social enterprise that creates professional pathways for disadvantaged high school seniors.

Through the Genesys Works program, rising seniors receive eight intensive weeks of training in technology and professional skills. During their senior year, they are assigned to a yearlong paid internship and participate in a College Access program that prepares them for postsecondary education.

In a simple comparison against other student groups, the social value of the program is high. The study looks at the costs for all students who enter the program and concludes that for every dollar invested, there is a $13.46 return.

“We’ve already heard from our alumni that we’ve helped change the trajectory of their lives through skills training and meaningful internships, ultimately having a lifelong impact on a student’s social and economic mobility. Because this study measures that actual return on the investment for the student and the community they live in, we now have measurable evidence that the model of investing in the lives of disadvantaged high-school students has far-reaching, positive outcomes for the economy.” said Genesys Works National CEO and Founder Rafael Alvarez.

This high return on investment is a direct result of the increased likelihood program participants will attend college and complete a postsecondary degree. Nearly all students enroll in college (93% enroll, with 71% graduated or still enrolled) and go on to complete degree programs at much higher rates than their peers. Greater postsecondary education attainment has proven to translate into higher incomes, lower social burdens, and faster economic growth. In addition, participants fill labor demands at local businesses and earn wages during the school year.

As economies have evolved to require a more skilled workforce, young adults need education or training beyond high school to find well-paying jobs. In the next three years, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

About Genesys Works
Genesys Works is a nonprofit 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

For more information, contact:
Name: Beth Parker
Phone: 202.772.6978

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