Today, on National Intern Day, a day to celebrate and recognize hard-working interns, we are excited to announce $1.8M in investments for four workforce development organizations — Year Up, Genesys Works, Enterprise for Youth and Futures and Options. These trailblazing nonprofits are committed to a future where every young adult has opportunities for meaningful work, including high-quality, paid internships.
At Salesforce, we believe that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Some young adults are limited in reaching their full potential simply because of where they live, the color of their skin, or their gender. Our Future Ready strategy aims to prepare all young adults, particularly those who have often been overlooked, with the education, skills, and access to opportunities to succeed in the 21st century. Salesforce is committed to workforce development through a set of diverse programs dedicated to training and hiring for the jobs of tomorrow. We invest in and support education and workforce development programs that are helping to level the playing field for young adults in our communities.
10 Years of Empowering Young Adults
Year Up aims to close the opportunity divide by providing young adults from under-served communities with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Salesforce was one of Year Up’s founding partners in the Bay Area more than 10 years ago, hosting interns and providing mentorship to their students. Since 2008, Salesforce has hosted more than 400 interns and approximately 50% of them have converted to full-time employees or contractors at Salesforce post-internship.
With this investment, we will support technical and professional skills training, internships and wraparound support for young adults enrolled at four Bay Area sites and two Chicago sites, including two community college sites. Additionally, our grant will support Year Up in building an enhanced business communications curriculum, ensuring that young professionals enter internships and jobs with strong, business-centric written and oral communication skills; this new curriculum will be rolled out nationally.
Focusing on Early Career Exposure
Research shows that paid work experience is associated with higher long-term earnings and improved employment networks. And some studies have shown that up to 85% of jobs are filled through networking. Yet, how do you build a network if you don’t know professionals in your desired field? And how can you even envision yourself as a professional in a given industry if you’ve never met someone who does that type of work? We often say “you can’t be what you can’t see.” This is why we believe so deeply in early career exposure for young adults.
Salesforce is proudly investing in Genesys Works, Enterprise for Youth and Futures and Options to provide pathways to career success for high school students from under-served communities through skills training, meaningful, paid internships, and impactful relationships.
Genesys Works provides high school seniors with intensive skills-training, followed by a 9-12 month internship during senior year. Students attend school half-time and work half-time, building a connection between academics and the professional world, while also getting support through the college application process. Salesforce has partnered with Genesys Works by hosting 115 interns since 2013, and through mentorship, volunteering, technology, and philanthropy. With our investment, Genesys Works will serve young adults in the Bay Area, Chicago and nationally by supporting college and career curriculum enhancements, technical skills training, alumni support and staff development.
Enterprise for Youth provides young adults who are at risk of becoming disconnected with access to professional skills training and paid internships during high school, ensuring early exposure to careers and professional role models. The organization serves 500 youth annually through job-readiness training, paid internships with college credit, and career development and networking support. With this investment, Enterprise for Youth will train high school students from underserved communities in San Francisco and place them in paid internships in professional fields; they will also use new funds to develop sector-based training in the technology and healthcare industries.
Futures and Options, based in New York City, combines engaging, relevant work-readiness training with paid, highly-supported internships for NYC high school students from under-served communities. Given tremendous demand, the organization is exploring methods to scale. This investment will support career development programming and paid early work experiences for NYC high school students; grant funds will also enable Futures and Options to explore scaling through technical assistance, supporting other organizations and schools to successfully run similar career development and internship programs on their own.
Today, on National Intern Day, and every day, Salesforce is proud to partner with organizations that are providing opportunities for students to gain the skills and education needed to achieve career success. We know that paid internships are critical in positioning young adults on the path to being Future Ready. To read more, check out these perspectives from an intern and a mentor.