Paying it Forward – Encouraging an Education for Youth from Under-resourced Communities
There’s no doubt of the myriad of benefits afforded to children who can attend college and receive continued education. From increased job opportunities to improved chances for economic stability, those with college educations are often afforded an enhanced quality of life and better financial growth possibilities down the road.
Genesys Works is making a difference and paying it forward by providing pathways to career success for high school students in undeserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experience, and mentoring. The organization partners with Corporate America to provide talented, hardworking young adults access to the tools and opportunities needed for career success and upward economic mobility.
Students given the opportunity to succeed in a professional work environment while still in high school typically go on to pursue post-secondary education – 90% of Genesys Works students enroll in college.
Genesys Works was Founded in 2002
Founded in 2002 by Rafael Alvarez, with the first location in Houston, Genesys Works now has office locations in the Twin Cities, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area, Washington DC, and New York. The Genesys Works staff will be supporting nearly 900 students over the next year.
Students are introduced to the program through partnerships with local high schools. Students participate in eight weeks of professional and skills training. Many of these students go on to earn paid yearlong internships at notable organizations such as AT&T, Google, Sysco, Target, GE, Land O’ Lakes, St. Jude Medical, J.P Morgan, and Salesforce.
“What I am particularly proud of in my 5+ years with Genesys Works is the dedication of our young professionals. It is great to see them working hard during summer training, making a mark during their internship, and persevering through any roadblocks that come their way in the quest to change their trajectory.” Said Ravani, Genesys Works’ Associate Director for National Enterprise Projects.
Genesys Works’ Paying it Forward to Help End Systemic Poverty for Populations of Color
Though this goal may seem lofty, it is indeed the goal of Genesys Works to bring an end to poverty. Unfortunately, poverty impacts more people in the United States than we think. According to the 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States’ official poverty rate is 10.5%.
Poverty increases health risks, weakens familial structures, decreases mobility, and costs the U.S. economy millions of dollars every year. Further, poverty is understood to weaken communities and access to the great American dream.
Companies such as Genesys Works paying it forward and taking on the role to break those cycles, providing young adults opportunities they might not otherwise have. Students leave the program with confidence, work experience, and their sights set on a path toward a professional career – a vision that they too can live the American dream and can play a role in ending the cycle of poverty.
Students aren’t the only ones benefiting from the Genesys Works program. Companies that partner with Genesys Works gain access to a unique talent pipeline of workforce ready young professionals who are often left out of traditional recruitment channels, but who have the technical and soft skills needed to fill today’s jobs.
Impacting Students, Families, and Communities
As stated on the Genesys Works website, “a recent study published by Columbia University’s Clive Belfield, Principal Economist for the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education, shows the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of Genesys Works at 13 times – for every $1 invested in Genesys Works, there’s an economic return of $13.45. This impressive return rate results from the high success rate tied to setting students on the right path to achieve career success.”
Ravani also shared with us, “the impact these internships make not only affects the students, but their families, and the trajectory of their life.”
In 2019 alone, this nonprofit organization served 3,781 students. The overall program has experienced a 90% college enrollment rate among students served, and 70% of program alumni have already graduated or are on track for college graduation. Last year’s efforts resulted in $9.5 million paid out to students.
We applaud Genesys Works for paying it forward in reducing the poverty rate across the U.S. and setting up students for future success.