CHICAGO, IL. – Urban Alliance Chicago is launching its 2017-18 High School Internship Program for underserved youth today with a record number of local schools participating – 42 schools and an anticipated 150 students, up from just seven schools and 71 students when the program debuted in 2012.
Urban Alliance is a national non-profit organization aimed at helping underserved youth expand their idea of what is possible for them after high school through its flagship program providing high school seniors with 10-month-long paid internships, job skills training, one-on-one mentoring, and intensive case management. Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1996, the organization has since expanded to Baltimore, Chicago, and most recently, Northern Virginia. To date, Urban Alliance has placed over 3,000 students in business and nonprofit internships – more than 600 in Chicago alone.
Students began eight weeks of pre-work training today in the skills needed for success in their internship and beyond. In daily after-school sessions, they will focus on professional readiness skills from workplace communication to professional dress, time management, and goal setting. They will also learn career skills such as networking and interviewing, and start planning for their post-high school future.
DeVry University donated classroom space for all six weeks of Urban Alliance’s pre-work training, which will take place at the school’s Chicago Loop Campus in the heart of the city. The school has donated this training space each year since Urban Alliance began operating in Chicago. DeVry also hosts one Urban Alliance intern every year.
“DeVry University has been a committed partner since day one, providing our interns with a convenient, comfortable space to learn and grow,” said Jenna Ketchum, Executive Director of Urban Alliance Chicago. “We’re grateful for their continued partnership and hope to work with them for many years to come.”
“DeVry University is truly excited to host Chicago area high school students for Urban Alliance’s fall training program, where they will gain exposure to professional skills and workforce training,” said Kristin Hansen, Chicago Loop Campus dean at DeVry University. “By working with Urban Alliance, businesses and higher education institutions can help empower and prepare youth to be career ready and become tomorrow’s leaders.”
An independent, six-year study of the Urban Alliance’s impact released this summer found that completing the High School Internship Program boosted the likelihood of young men attending college by 23 percentage points and of middle-tier students (2.0 – 3.0 average GPA) enrolling in a 4-year college by 18 percentage points, and resulted in greater comfort with and retention of soft skills, especially among young men. These findings were leveraged to win a coveted Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant in 2015 to help Urban Alliance expand and serve even more youth.