If you’re an aspiring teen entrepreneur, you may find yourself wondering how to get started on running your own business. It may be tempting to try launching a startup as soon as inspiration strikes, but there are several factors you need to consider before doing so. Raising capital and obtaining business management skills are some for starters. One organization known as Genesys Works is offering teens a leg-up on the competition by connecting them with job opportunities in finance and tech as part of their high school experience. Learn how you can enroll in this program to gain hands-on business experience as an up-and-coming teen entrepreneur.

Genesys Works for teens in Chicago

Genesys Works student giving powerpoint presentation during meeting
Genesys Works student giving powerpoint presentation during meeting

Genesys Works is a national nonprofit organization that provides companies with cost-effective staffing solutions by connecting them with talented high school students. The organization was founded in 2002 by Rafael Alvarez, a former corporate strategist for Compaq Computer in Houston. When his company was in need of new talent, Alvarez was shocked to discover the bleak future economically-challenged high school students face after graduation and decided to make a difference.

Genesys Works prepares students for the workforce by training them in professional and technical skills and connecting them with one of their Corporate Partners. While the organization is nationwide, its efforts are crucial in Chicago because the city ranks last in upward mobility among the 50 largest cities in the U.S. According to Harvard Professor of Economics Raj Chetty, the largest gap in the upward mobility rate is between black and white men from low-income backgrounds. Currently, the organization is seeking Chicago companies and business owners to work with their students to help bridge the gap in career opportunities.

Who has Genesys Works benefited so far?

Genesys Works students in training program
Aspiring teen entrepreneurs working together in Genesys Works training program

Over the past 17 years, Genesys Works has made massive strides to close the racial equity gap nationwide. 72% of Genesys Works alumni ages 25 and up earn the same or more than at least one parent, and 25% make more than both parents combined. According to their 2016 Social Return on Investment Analysis, the “economic benefits per student from Genesys Works are: $98,930 in extra lifetime earnings and $25,620 in social gains.”

In Chicago alone, 96% of participants enrolled in the 2019-2020 program were students of color (48% Black, 44% Latinx, 3% Multi-Racial). Notably, 73% are first-generation students. Genesys Works also proudly states that 100% of their students graduate high school on time and 88% enroll in college. This is important considering that less teens are thinking about long-term goals due to the coronavirus. According to Inside Higher ED, community college enrollment is down, greatly impacting minority and low-income students. Students of color need to continue pursuing fruitful ventures, especially in the midst of the American Racial Divide. Empowerment starts from within and people of color need to inspire one another by showing that anyone can become successful and overcome those racial barriers.

Why should you hire a Genesys Works Intern?

Genesys Works corporate partner interviewing high school intern
Genesys Works corporate partner interviewing high school intern

If you are a potential Corporate Partner, there are many reasons you should hire a Genesys Works intern. Besides access to cost-effective staffing, it is also a great way to add new blood to your company. With less students enrolling in college, we are looking at an increase of under-qualified adults entering the workforce. By hiring from the Genesys Works program, you are guaranteed to be connected with highly skilled young professionals that will take your company to the next level.

It is also imperative for you to create a more diverse workplace and build the next generation of leaders. Companies with above-average leadership diversity report 19% higher innovation revenue and are 70% more likely to gain the attention of a new market. With the large pool of enrolled students of color, particularly in Chicago, you are helping these teens find better opportunities and helping your company’s chances for growth.

How can Genesys Works Benefit you as a Teen Entrepreneur?

Aspiring teen entrepreneurs working together in Genesys Works training program
Aspiring teen entrepreneurs working together in Genesys Works training program

The Genesys Works program is available to high school juniors going into their senior year. While they don’t have a GPA requirement, you do have to be on track to graduate and must be able to work afternoons during your senior year. Students earn an average of $11,000 their senior year, which is a significant amount of startup capital for teen entrepreneurs or anyone looking to pay for college. Genesys Works also provides students with one-on-one support and guidance on college applications, financial aid, and scholarships.

Through the Genesys Works training program, students are taught a multitude of practical skills ranging from IT to business operation to coding:

Information Technology
  • Computer set-up and deployment
  • System refreshes
  • Migrations
  • Imaging
  • Desk support ticket tracking
  • Resolution hardware
  • Software installation
Business Operation
  • Data input and analysis
  • Accounts payable & accounts receivable
  • Delinquent accounts tracking
  • Expense report management
  • Quality assurance
  • Vendor management
  • File management and archiving
Coding
  • Apple’s Swift Programming Language X-code
  • Development
  • Environment Version Control
  • Agile Project Management
  • Data types, operators, control flow, optional, collections
  • Basic design patterns
  • Avigation controllers, table views, and tabbed controllers

Students also develop professional skills needed to succeed in the corporate world and will have the opportunity to connect with top companies like General Mills, Ecolab, and Ameriprise Financial. During enrollment, students are able to select the track they wish to pursue and the Genesys Works Program Team will carefully match them to the correct Corporate Partner based on their training performance and individuality. “We believe culture fit is a critical part of internship success, so it’s vital to ensure we are sending our Young Professionals into a place where they will thrive.”

By guiding young professionals onto sustainable paths prior to graduation, they catapult them into a higher stratum of economic success than most of their parents have ever experienced. For aspiring teen entrepreneurs, gaining hands on experience in a corporate setting before entering the workforce will strengthen your leadership skills and better prepare you to launch your own startup. So if you are a current high schooler who dreams of one day owning your own business, Genesys Works offers an opportunity like no other.

If you’re a teen entrepreneur hopeful, are you considering enrolling into Genesys Works? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.