Houston Business Journal
By Tracy Janda – Community Relations Manager, CenterPoint Energy
Feb 18, 2019

Houston, Texas — What do an energy delivery company and a high school student have in common? They’re both committed to a brighter future.

CenterPoint Energy is charting an innovative course for what an energy delivery company can be in the 21st century. Through our partnership with Genesys Works, a national workforce development nonprofit founded in Houston, we’re investing in the workforce of tomorrow by offering students real-world work experience today.

Genesys Works is an example of an organization that is working to fill the gap between what students are taught in the classroom and what’s needed for success in today’s workplace. This gap includes specific skills needed as well as expectations for workplace behavior.

As community relations manager with CenterPoint Energy, I see that working with Genesys Works to close the skills gap has been a true win-win. By offering high school students real-world experience through an internship at our company, we are giving back to the communities where we live and work while building our talent pipeline. In fact, several of our interns have come back to work for us as contractors or full-time employees during or after college.

After successfully completing an intensive eight-week summer training program, Genesys Works young professionals show up on the first day eager and equipped with the technical and professional skills they need. While CenterPoint Energy directly benefits from that training for our own interns, we believe that the community benefits from the hundreds of Genesys Works alumni who become part of Houston’s broader talent pool each year.

We believe education and community development are inextricably linked to the sustainability of our communities. That is why CenterPoint Energy focuses our charitable investments, volunteerism and other community-based activities on the nonprofit organizations working in these core areas.

For Sophie Gomez, an information technology and hiring manager with CenterPoint Energy, the benefits of working with this program are clear. “It gives us the opportunity to evaluate prospective future employees while giving back to our community,” she said.

As a direct supervisor for some Genesys Works interns, it’s also more than just the obvious return on investment for Gomez. “Getting to mentor these interns and foster leadership skills really improves the overall work environment for our team,” she said.

While Genesys Works interns gain meaningful work experience, CenterPoint Energy managers also benefit by gaining people-management skills.

For students, the experience of working at a top company can be life-changing. I’ve seen first-hand how they embrace the responsibilities and challenges of their positions as they progress and mature through their internship. Current CenterPoint Energy intern Ailine Avila put it best: “Since joining CenterPoint, I’ve learned how many people it takes to run a business and how they all play a different but equally important role in reaching the same goal.”

At CenterPoint Energy, we value a diverse workforce that reflects the customers and the communities we serve. In fact, CenterPoint Energy was recognized by the Texas Diversity Council as a Top 25 Company for Diversity in Texas for having one of the highest percentages of women and minorities in executive leadership and on our board of directors in both 2017 and 2018. We are proud of this recognition and will continue to partner with organizations that share our values.

CenterPoint Energy’s vision is to lead the nation in energy, service and value, and for our communities, that means being a good corporate citizen. From delivering energy services to mentoring high school seniors on the path to a professional career, CenterPoint Energy is in the business of helping to ensure a bright future.

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About Genesys Works

Genesys Works provides pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences, and impactful relationships. Our program consists of 8 weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college.  Our goal is to move more students out of poverty and into professional careers, creating a more productive and diverse workforce in the process.  Since its founding in 2002, Genesys Works has grown to serve nearly 4,000 students annually in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington’s National Capital Region.   To learn more, visit www.genesysworks.org.