$3 million contribution funds expansion of high school internship program
Washington, DC, February 26, 2015 — AT&T, as part of the AT&T Aspire initiative, announced a $3 million contribution to Genesys Works today to support more opportunities for high school students to experience meaningful year-long internships in businesses — including AT&T — across the country.
Genesys Works is an innovative social enterprise that places economically disadvantaged high school students into a professional career through workplace training and meaningful senior-year internships. The commitment was revealed today by Tim Wolff, Vice President of Construction and Engineering, AT&T during the National Opportunity Summit. The Summit is convening private, public and non-profit stakeholders focused on youth employment and workforce training initiatives. It is hosted by Opportunity Nation, a bi-partisan coalition focused on increasing opportunity in America.
“The best investments are those that benefit all parties involved and grow and get better over time — this is what AT&T has experienced with Genesys Works,” said Wolff. “Our employees learn by mentoring students, and the students gain valuable work experience. Because of their excellent performance, we’ve kept several students on at our company past the duration of their Genesys Works internship. Supporting the expansion of this program is a smart business decision.”
Timothy Mayorga, a petroleum engineering student at the University of Houston, did not dream of college until he was accepted into the Genesys Works program and was placed in a meaningful internship at AT&T. While working in the engineering department with his AT&T mentor, Elizabeth Palomo, Tim started to envision his career path and navigate his plans after high school, leading him to be the first in his family to attend college. See more stories of the students and employees involved in the program here.
“Private sector investment in workforce training programs, such as AT&T’s commitment to internship and mentorship programs, is critically important to helping our nation’s 5.6 million youth who are neither in school nor working,” commented Russell Krumnow, Managing Director of Opportunity Nation. “AT&T’s contribution to Genesys Works today demonstrates the importance of cross-sector collaboration to provide young adults with expanded access to opportunities, the driving force of Opportunity Nation’s mission.”
“With young Americans experiencing unemployment rates that are at least twice the national average, it’s critically important to empower today’s youth with the skills and experiences that allow them to see and be in pursuit of opportunity — in the classroom, in the workplace and in life,” said Rafael Alvarez, Founder and CEO of Genesys Works. “AT&T’s commitment to Genesys Works will enable thousands of students to realize their potential.”
More than 80 percent of Genesys Works students are from low-income households, and many represent the “quiet middle”—“B” or “C” students who may require additional support to realize their full potential. Once accepted into the Genesys Works program, students receive technical and professional skills training and are placed at corporations, like AT&T, for a paid 12-month internship during their senior year of high school. The program boasts a remarkable success rate: 95 percent of Genesys Works student interns enroll in college, and 86 percent of program graduates persist in higher education after their freshman year. Genesys Works currently serves students in Houston, Chicago, the Twin Cities, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
This new contribution builds on AT&T’s relationship with Genesys Works, which began in 2012 with a $1 million contribution that supported its expansion into the San Francisco Bay Area connecting students to the technology sector. This collaboration is part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s $350 million signature education initiative, focused on helping students succeed in school and preparing them with the skills needed for a 21st century career.
About Philanthropy and Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T Inc. 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. In 2013, more than $130 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.
About Genesys Works
Genesys Works is committed to empowering economically disadvantaged high school students to enter and thrive in the economic mainstream by providing the knowledge and work experience required to succeed as professionals, changing the trajectory of their lives forever. To this end, Genesys Works trains and engages high school seniors in meaningful corporate internships at one of more than 150 major companies in Houston, the Twin Cities, Chicago, and the Bay Area. The organization keeps them on track to graduate and prepares them for successful futures in a competitive marketplace.
About Opportunity Nation
Opportunity Nation is a bipartisan, national coalition of more than 300 businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and community leaders working to expand economic opportunity. Opportunity Nation seeks to close the opportunity gap by amplifying the work of its coalition members, advocating policy and private sector actions, and releasing the annual Opportunity Index, a composite measure at the state and county levels of economic, educational and civic factors that foster opportunity.
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