Genesys Works program offers a leg up on job skills training for current juniors


Norah Austin

Genesys Works program coordinator Natalie Ibarra and junior Lorenzo Ochoa at the Genesys Works application session in the College and Career Center. Genesys Works wants to “provide pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences and impactful relationships,” according to the Genesys Works website. Applications are open through March 1st, visit the CCC for information on how to apply.

Norah Austin, Staff Writer

A new opportunity has opened for current juniors at South. Now through March 1st, any junior who would like is able to apply to Genesys Works, a job skills development program.

This program is meant to “provide pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences and impactful relationships,” according to the Genesys Works website.

After being accepted, students will engage in a 14 month comprehensive program, of which includes a year-long, paid internship. Through this training, the hope is high school students will learn skills needed to have success in today’s work world, such as business etiquette, conflict resolution, and proper communication skills.

“For Genesys Works, we start from the summer and if you’re successful you go throughout the whole year,” said Natalie Ibarra, program coordinator for Genesys Works. “That way you have a program coordinator that works with you, making sure that you’re doing good in your internship, but also in school.” She continued, “that way we really get to work with students.”

Students are then expected to work 20 hours per week, “leaving at midday and working four hours per day at one of our corporate partners,” stated the Genesys Works website. Genesys Works is sponsored by many corporate partners, allowing students to experience various work environments.

The partnerships between Genesys Works and our nearly 200 corporate partners are at the heart of our program’s success,” stated the Genesys Works website.

Students are placed at these companies around the Twin Cities, ranging from the Mia and MPR, to Land O’ Lakes and Sleep Number.

The skills learned both within the comprehensive training and immersion in a work environment are important. “When I was accepted I was mostly just open to learning new skills and then as time went by I got super invested in the program and wanted to nail it,” stated class of 2018 Young Professional Antoinette Hui, on the Genesys Works website.

The Genesys Works programs hopes to foster these skills within the students they serve.

“When you start the internship you know just the basics that you come with or that you learn in the summer,” said Ibarra. “This program makes sure that you learn from your experiences and push yourself to learn more.”

Additional classroom instruction and individual counseling on college and career opportunities will be provided to participants through Genesys Works’ College and Career Connection Program.

“If they’re [students] in College Possible we get to meet their college coach. If they’re not and want to, we get them to talk to their counselors. It’s really great because it’s someone you should reach out to, and not a lot of high school students do that,” said Ibarra. [The program] is good when you’re applying for scholarships, or applying for college… we make sure that we’re communicating with the right people and seeing what the next steps are for them.”

Many believe that this program will be extremely beneficial to anyone who wants to further their skills in various areas of the workforce, whether those skills are personal or professional,

“The Genesys Works program is about learning how to be confident in the workplace…” said Hui. “It encouraged me to explore new pathways and to check the ins and outs of financial services, such as how to avoid bank accounts that require a minimum balance,” according to an interview conducted by Genesys Works staff.

South students apply to the program for many reasons. According to junior Lorenzo Ochoa, “I just wanted to see what opportunities there were for me.” He continued, “I wanted to experience something new and learn more about the business and technology realms.”

The program holds many benefits, helping students to grow in the area of professionalism, among many others. “This program benefits  [students] as a whole person by just having those people around you. This makes sure that you network, even within your internship,” stated Ibarra.

From the point of view of students, “I feel like [Genesys Works] would improve me as a person as well as improving my knowledge in certain areas,” commented Ochoa.  

Besides the overarching skill of professionalism, students can also hope to gain many other important communication skills, of which are vital to success in the professional world. “I want to learn how to public speak. I also want to gain knowledge in business and team building,” explained Ochoa.

Ibarra, who has previously mentored several students from South commented, “I feel like you can learn a lot, for example just being able to introduce yourself and being able to express yourself.”

Ibarra continued, “I know that a lot of people will have discomfort even with public speaking, so that in itself is something that’s good to be able to learn. Being able to be concise with certain messages, such as professionalism when you’re meeting someone, greeting them, or sending emails.”

Overall, many believe that the Genesys Works program is extremely beneficial to anyone looking to further both their professional and interpersonal skills.

“The importance [of Genesys Works] is that self fulfillment you get from participating,” said Ibarra. “It’s just about you making sure that you’re taking that you’re taking the next step and that you’re reaching out to the right people and doing the best you can.”