Each summer we raise the money to place our accomplished Excelerate graduates into paid internships that align with their career goals. Our internships are designed to incorporate best practices including proper placement, mentoring and supervisor training as well as full-year engagement. For many of our students the business setting provides their first real-world evidence of the direct connection between academics and career success.

This year we placed students at the Missouri Department of Conservation, HNTB Engineering, Samuel Rodgers Health Center, KKFI community radio station, KCPT public television station, Visiting Nurse Association, Express Employment, and Central Elementary School. Last year the Kansas City star published an article on our internship program.

At the beginning of the school year we give our Excelerate students an evaluation using a national resiliency tool. The evaluation includes questions like “I usually manage one way or another”; “I can usually look at a situation in a number of ways” and students rate the statements on a scale of 1 – 7. After their internships, we have students take the evaluation again. The average improvement last year was over 12%!

Along with improving students’ self esteem and resiliency, internships impact academics and future success:

  1. Summer internships can increase academic performance. A Department of Labor study found that summer employment can increase reading and math levels by more than one grade in a majority of students.
  2. Summer internships can increase future job success and earnings. Early employment provides a smoother transition to the labor market and higher weekly earnings for up to 15 years after high school graduation.
  3. Youth unemployment remains high and higher still for minorities.

“Through Green Works I have learned that there are people who will help me. Green Works has introduced me to people and opened doors that I could never have opened myself.” Ronald

Watch Keylen talk about his work at the Zoo, read more on the KCPT website and then read what Keylen’s supervisor had to say about his work (below).

“Keylen had a positive attitude and was always eager to work. He was attentive to detail, extremely focused, and hardworking.  Keylen not only met my expectations but exceeded them as well!  Transportation was sometimes an issue since he rode the bus and The Metro is not really reliable.  He always called to let me know he was running behind which was great!”  – Internship supervisor, summer 2014