Genesys Works NYC

K-12 Program

Manhattan

55 exchange Place

New York, NY 10005

Genesys Works NYC

produced by

Genesys Works NYC

55 exchange Place

New York, NY 10005

curriculum
Career Skills

Genesys Works NYC’s Genesys Works NYC is a profiled program in the Plugging In Report.

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Who is served: Rising high school seniors in the Bronx from low-income backgrounds 

Number of participants: 30 

Location: Out of school: summer program at Pace University. 7 partner Bronx high schools: Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School, Bronx High School for Law & Community Service (TR), Bronx Leadership Academy II, KAPPA – Knowledge & Power Preparatory Academy International High School (TR), New Visions High School for the Humanities (JFK), New Visions High School for Advanced Mathematics and Science (JFK), West Bronx Academy of the Future (TR) 

(TR) = Theodore Roosevelt Campus (JFK) = John F. Kennedy Campus 

Frequency/Duration: 14 months total, starting with 8-week half-day summer training, followed by 20-hour-per-week internships of up to 12 months. Students also receive 60 hours of counseling on college and career pathways, including finding a college match, filling out applications and financial aid forms and applying for scholarships.  

Eligibility Criteria: Schools are not charged a fee but must designate a “school champion” who will work a few hours per week as an internal point person for Genesys Works, helping ensure that student interns are still keeping up academically.  Genesys Works targets “the quiet middle,” or high-potential students in the 75-85 range academically for whom “school hasn’t turned on the light bulb,” but who are interested in working for a Fortune 1000 company, according to Mike Gross, executive director of Genesys Works New York City.  This year, 30 out of 111 applicants were chosen.  

Curriculum: The 14-month program begins with 8 weeks of paid, part-time training in the summer before senior year of high school. Participants learn technical skills, with a focus on IT hardware and software, including MS Office/Work/Excel, and professional skills such as public speaking, writing professional emails and the basics of working and socializing in a corporate setting. In the fall, students begin an internship of up to 12 months, often within the IT department of a Genesys Works corporate partner, including tech and non-tech companies such as Warner Media and Salesforce. Genesys Works is trying to bring on larger tech industry partners such as Google and Lyft, according to Gross.  

Student interns might reimage computers, set up workstations, or work on a help desk, for example. Because corporate partners see “the same student there, day in and day out for a whole year, they can give that person real work and invest in them,” said Gross.  

As internships progress, students also receive 60 hours of college and career counseling, including finding a college match, filling out applications and financial aid forms, and applying for scholarships. Alumni also get ongoing support as they navigate post-secondary institutions. “We use this experience as a way for them to begin to transform what they think is possible for themselves, see themselves working in a corporate environment and understand what’s it going to take to get there,” Gross said. 

 

Outcomes: This is the organization’s first year in New York, but it has a strong record of success in other urban centers, including Chicago, the Bay Area, and the National Capital Region. Among Genesys Works’ approximately 4,500 alumni, more than 3 quarters of whom are first-generation college students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch, 100 percent graduated high school, 95 percent have enrolled in college and they’re 3.5 times likelier than their peer group to earn a degree. Among employed alumni, at a median age of 24, 46 percent earn the same or more than at least 1 parent and 23 percent earn more than both parents combined.  

Partnerships:  Companies where interns will be placed this year include: BlankRome, Fried Frank, Kirkland & Ellis, Lazard, Mizuho Americas, Per Scholas, Ropes & Gray, Salesforce, SEO, SMBC (Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp), WarnerMedia, Weil, Gotshal. 

Cost: Free 

Sources of funding: Private  

What makes the program stand out? While there are many internship programs in New York, “not a lot are for high school students, other than SYEP,” said Gross, as well as Here to Here, which connects Bronx high school students with paid internships and on-the-job training through the Bronx Private Industry Council and CareerWise New York. Among the available options for high schoolers, Genesys Works stands out for providing intensive professional and technical training, as well as extensive support throughout the program and into post-secondary life.  What do participants need to succeed? It’s an intensive program, with a 1,000-hour internship, including 20 hours per week during senior year of high school; participants need to be able to keep up with school work and not lose sight of graduation. “That intensity unleashes student potential, and also allows for really strong mentoring relationships to be built with folks in the workplace, whether a supervisor or someone else,” said Gross.  

Genesys Works also helps students stay on track by placing advisors in partner schools, as well as “helping them continue to work at the company where they interned, find other employment in the summer, and nudging them to make sure they’re aware of various deadlines,” said Gross. There are also gatherings during holiday breaks so students can continue supporting one another.  

Participants also need to be paid minimum-wage during the summer training 

What does the organization need? Genesys Works has had to compete with SYEP for students, so for the first time it will be paying students for summer training. Gross would like to see a shift to allow for programs like Genesys Works, which provide career-oriented curriculum and work-based experience, to qualify for SYEP. “We don’t want [students] to have to make that choice,” he said.