Written by Mandy Lew
Each summer, United Way Bay Area connects young people (16-24 years old), most of whom have had little work experience, from community-based organizations into internships with industry leading companies. Over the course of 6 weeks, our Business Pathways Interns gain work experience at local Bay Area businesses and develop their financial capability and professional skills through weekly workshops.
UWBA’s Business Pathways Summer Internship Program is designed to provide interns with hands-on exposure to careers. It also provides young adults with opportunities to develop personal and professional skills that will prepare them for the workforce.
UWBA intern, Alesha Sparks shares her experience:
Within a week of learning about the program, I got my internship placement at United Way Bay Area. The process was fun and easy for me as I had support from both Mandy and Nicole the entire time. They helped me set up my direct deposit as well as making sure I had everything I needed to complete my internship project.
During the internship, I researched youth serving programs across the Bay Area for potential partnerships. I created an organized spreadsheet listing youth programs and their contact information. This project is important because United Way Bay Area provides career readiness services to youth, making sure there’s something for everybody and that these programs are easily accessible. I learned from my project that there are many programs that can help youth adults like myself with life skills and job development. There are also programs to help people I know who are facing homelessness as well.
Additionally, through the weekly professional development seminars, I received financial capability and skills training. I learned how to build credit and research information so I can be more confident when choosing financial products like credit cards. In terms of workplace skills, the presenters taught me how to leverage and polish my skills to become a strong addition in any workplace I join. One take away was the importance of networking and learning from others.
“Her work was thorough, and she was very efficient. When I checked her work, she caught all the little, small details that even seasoned professionals often miss (italics, text formats, etc. that are actually important in our industry).
I think the only constructive criticism I would offer is … BRAG MORE! What I mean is she has a great story to tell and already has great experience. So, learn how to tell prospective employers or college admissions staff her story.”
– Intern Supervisor
By training young people to work in a business environment we can supply employers with talented young workers. Offering paid work experience and training allows us to encourage our young adults to stay in school, to be challenged professionally, and to make a positive impact within their community.
Thank You to our supporters. We would like to thank CSAA, SiriusXM, Blaze Sanders, Norman Cheng, Earn It! Keep It! Save It! (EKS), and SparkPoint Fremont for leading professional development and financial capability workshops for our young adults. Learn more about our Youth Workforce related work