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Genesys Works Interview                                                                                    Please take one minute to evaluate our website. Click here to take the survey.

These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus interview with

Beth Moncrief, Katherine Jumbe and John Hayden of Genesys Works
March 20, 2015

Can internships for disadvantaged youth help meet the demand for skilled professionals?

Overview

A program that trains low-income students, mostly students of color, in information technology skills and the "soft" skills needed in a business environment and then places them in corporate internships often gives those students a stronger sense of the relevancy of their school subjects. So say Beth Moncrief, Katherine Jumbe and John Hayden, staff members of that program, Genesys Works. The nonprofit program has been operating in the Twin Cities since 2008. Last year, Genesys Works placed 220 students from 35 schools in internships with 47 corporate clients.

Genesys Works provides concentrated, ongoing support to the students and the corporate clients to help ensure that internships are successful for both. The program also closely guides students in applying for postsecondary education and follows the students once they enroll. Moncrief says the program faces challenges in the areas of arranging transportation, working with school-day schedules, finding and recruiting the right students, and setting realistic expectations with corporate clients on what duties the interns can perform.

In working with the students, Jumbe has come to realize that society needs to figure out what it means to be successful as a high school graduate. She says we send students the message that our schools are bad and that the students are a problem to be solved and not a resource to be tapped. She believes Minnesota has not figured out what the place is for low-income students and students of color at its schools, its colleges and in its workplaces.

An interviewer suggests that the program could work well in rural Minnesota, where many small communities have manufacturing industries close to high schools. Hayden says Genesys Works wants to continue to grow and to help other organizations replicate what it does.

For the complete interview summary see: Genesys interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readersí zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

To assist the Civic Caucus in planning upcoming interviews, readers rated these statements about the topic on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

1. Topic is of value. (8.6 average response) The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Further study warranted. (6.8 average response) It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

Readers rated the following points discussed during the meeting on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

3. Internships benefit employers, students. (9.0 average response) Corporate internships for disadvantaged students deliver significant long-term benefits for both employers and students.

4. Scheduling should be more flexible. (8.8 average response) High schools should allow enough flexibility so students won't be prevented from working as interns because of class scheduling.

5. Work makes school more relevant. (9.6 average response) Once exposed to the workplace, students have a better understanding of what they must do in school to prepare for work as adults.

6. "Soft" skills more valuable. (8.6 average response) Acquiring self-confidence, a good work ethic, a positive attitude, and communication, time management, problem solving and teamwork skills is likely more valuable to interns than learning specific job skills.

7. Disadvantaged seen as potential resource. (8.9 average response) Internships help employers understand that disadvantaged students can be a valuable resource to be tapped for future staffing needs.

8. Internships improve outlook, motivation. (9.3 average response) Internships help inner-city youth internalize that they can belong in the work world, raise their career expectations and gain valuable motivation.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.

0%

0%

0%

57%

43%

7

2. Further study warranted.

0%

14%

29%

43%

14%

7

3. Internships benefit employers, students.

0%

0%

14%

29%

57%

7

4. Scheduling should be more flexible.

0%

0%

0%

71%

29%

7

5. Work makes school more relevant.

0%

0%

0%

43%

57%

7

6. "Soft" skills more valuable.

0%

0%

0%

71%

29%

7

7. Disadvantaged seen as potential resource.

0%

0%

0%

57%

43%

7

8. Internships improve outlook, motivation.

0%

0%

0%

57%

43%

7

Individual Responses:

Ray Ayotte (7.5) (5) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

Dennis Carlson (10) (7.5) (10) (7.5) (10) (7.5) (10) (10)
8. Internships improve outlook, motivation. Great idea - I hope it can expand and be even more successful.

Paul Hauge (10) (10) (9) (9) (9) (9) (8) (9)

Tom Spitznagle (6) (5) (5) (9) (9) (7) (6) (8)

Wayne Jennings (9) (9) (10) (10) (9) (9) (9) (9)

Chuck Lutz (8) (7) (9) (9) (10) (8) (9) (9)

Brignt Dornblaser (10) (4) (10) (7) (10) (10) (10) (10)

To receive these interview summaries as they occur, email civiccaucus@comcast.net         Follow us on Twitter

 

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
Dan Loritz (Chair), Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman

 

 

 


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The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.  civiccaucus@comcast.net
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.
 

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