Genesys Works

Genesys Works

Increase access to meaningful, early career opportunities for youth

Lesson Learned:

Meaningful early career experiences can set students up for long-term success.

Meaningful early work experience and post-secondary education are strong predictors of a young person’s future success, but youth from low-income households are less likely than their affluent peers to have these experiences.[1, 2] Internships for high school students are often unpaid, which puts them out of reach to students who need paid work.[3]

Genesys Works provides training, coaching, and meaningful paid work for high school seniors in underserved communities.

“When I started to notice the difference was when I was back in school. I was back in high school, and I wasn’t the same guy. I wasn’t a normal average student. I stood out from the crowd. I was that kid who was extremely motivated. That person who knew what he wanted and extremely confident. That’s when I realized this program really changed my life.”

— Luis, a Genesys Works student

A group of students in suits stand smiling

What it does

Started in Houston in 2002 and operating in seven cities in the U.S., Genesys Works places high school seniors in paid, year-long internships at partner companies. The organization works with schools in under-served communities that appoint a “school champion” to identify students who would benefit. School champions may be teachers, counselors, or administrative support staff. Students then demonstrate interest and aptitude with a written application, interviews, and a recommendation from their school counselor.

Before the internship, students complete an 8-week intensive program to build skills in office communication, technology, and interviewing for jobs. Worksite supervisors also receive guidance on how to best support and mentor their interns.

During the fall of students’ senior year, Genesys Works matches participants with a partner company such as Accenture, Target, 3M, Best Buy, and JPMorgan Chase.

Throughout the internship, students attend high school in the morning and work at their internship in the afternoon, completing work that contributes directly to the success of their host company. Working a total of 15-20 hours a week, students earn at least $11,000 a year from their internships. They attend regular sessions with Genesys Works to learn about financial aid, college applications, and career paths, and receive one-on-one counseling each month from Genesys Works program coordinators.

After the internship and for six years post high school graduation, Genesys Works provides alumni with personal and academic support and technical assistance to secure financial aid.

Genesys Works has served over 11,000 students, 93% of whom are people of color and 58% of whom would be the first in their family to attend college.

How effective it is

93% of Genesys Works students from the class of 2022 enrolled in college, nearly double the percentage (49%) of low-income students who enroll in college nationally. Historically, 54% of Genesys Works participants complete their four-year degree within six years, compared to 18.5% of their peers.

The median earnings of alumni seven years out of the program is $60,000. An external study of Genesys Works’ Texas site found that each employed graduate from Genesys Works generated on average nearly 54% more for the Texas economy than other workers in the state, largely because program graduates found employment in high-paying sectors.[4]

99% of alumni felt their high school internship was valuable, and 77% felt that their Genesys Works experience helped them to get their current job. 50% said they might not have enrolled in college without Genesys Works.

How philanthropy helps

Genesys Works earns 66% of its funding through internship fees from its corporate partners, with the rest funded by philanthropic sources. Philanthropic funding directly supports the organization’s expansion to new sites and outreach to more students. Learn more at

More ways to help

Leading Men Fellowship provides young men of color between the ages of 18 and 24 years old with meaningful early career experiences in pre-kindergarten education.  

For more on supporting student success, see our Pathways to Student Success guidance. 

For guidance on how to connect young people with schools and employment, see CHIP’s Reconnected: Opportunity Youth Toolkit.  


[1] McFarland, J., Hussar, B., Wang, X., Zhang, J., Wang, K., Rathbun, A., & Barmer, A. (2018, May 23). The Condition of Education 2018. National Center for Education Statistics; National Center for Education Statistics.

[2] Simons, L., Fehr, L., Blank, N., Connell, H., Georganas, D., Fernandez, D., & Peterson, V. (2012). Lessons Learned from Experiential Learning: What Do Students Learn from a Practicum/Internship? International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 24(3), 325–334.

[3] Edwards, K. A., Hertel-Fernandez, A., & Cauthen, N. K. (2010). Paving the Way Through Paid Internships: A Proposal to Expand Educational and Economic Opportunities for Low-Income College Students [Report]. Demos.

[4] Yeo, B. (2017). The Economic Impact of Genesys Works in Texas. DePaul University.