Nonprofit Encourages Diversity by Giving Jobs in Tech to High School Students
Today in "good S.T.E.M. news."
In a recent Wired piece, college student Luis Almendarez explains how he went from being a high school junior who attended class “not because he was excited by what he might learn, but because it was expected of him” to a member of an IT department at a local company and part of the first-ever graduating class from Genesys Works’ North California headquarters.
Although Genysys Works is still in the relatively early developmental stage, the nonprofit is dedicated to serving as a conduit between underrepresented groups and the tech world, helping underprivileged teens get a headstart in STEM fields across the country. Genysys recruits high schoolers for an eight-week training program designed to provide students with the skills necessary to enter the workforce (from software troubleshooting to learning how to dress professionally) before placing participants in internships at the IT departments of local companies.
The students spend a year (and about 1,000 hours) working in their respective internships for a more than minimum hourly wage and receiving early exposure to professional IT environments. So far, the program boasts a fairly high success rate–of the approximately 1,500 kids who have graduated from Genesys Works offices across the country, Wired says 96% go on to college while 80% win a college degree.
Almendarez, who is now working towards a computer science degree, credits some of the program’s success to its emphasis on the “soft skills” necessary for the workplace:
You can take a course on how to fix a computer anytime […] But learning to be a motivated person, to have confidence and initiative, and to be a good public speaker—those are values that you can take with you for life, and that shape you into a different person.
What do you think, gang? Would Genesys Works have been helpful for you in highschool? (And if you’re still in high school, does the program sound beneficial?)
(image via Genesys Works)