GUEST BLOGGER: Rafael Alvarez, Founder and CEO, Genesys Works

I am honored to join an ongoing conversation on this blog and across America about the opportunity gap that divides those who have and those who seemingly never will. Whether through school-based services like Communities in Schools, education recovery and training programs like YouthBuild USA, or college success initiatives like College Bound, the need is tremendous. I am humbled to be a partner in this work to bridge the divide.

Eleven years ago, I walked away from a coveted corporate position in business strategy to address the lack of educational attainment of disadvantaged youth. I had seen firsthand the bleak scholastic and occupational prospects facing economically challenged high school students and at the same time understood the industry need for a diverse pool of high-skilled talent.

What began as a humble effort to help just 10 students has grown to serve nearly 2,500 students to date and is becoming a driving force in bridging the gap between corporate America and the education system. Genesys Works engages economically disadvantaged high school seniors in professional corporate internships, changing their trajectory in life. Established in Houston in 2002, Genesys Works now serves the Bay Area, Chicago, and the Twin Cities. This year nearly 1,000 Genesys Works interns will engage in meaningful internships at major corporations, like AT&T, Accenture, and JPMorgan Chase.

More than 95% of Genesys Works’ alumni are accepted to college and 86% persist beyond their freshman year. Along with many partner organizations across America, Genesys Works is truly changing the trajectory of life for low-income high school students.