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by Henry Jacobo, Genesys Works Class of 2019

Houston, Texas — Growing up I would dream about attending a four-year university, studying business, and working at a job that I am truly passionate about. However, I did not see this becoming a reality due to my lack of knowledge about college, lack of knowledge about the business world, and my fear of choosing a major only to find out that it might not be right for me.

College was always a dream for me because neither of my parents attended college after high school. Seeing them struggle working long hours motivated me to pursue higher education. Just a few years ago, my mom went back to school and earned her bachelor’s degree. It was difficult for her to navigate the school system with no knowledge or support. And she accomplished it while working 12-hour shifts and taking care of my brother and me. I realized that if she did it, so can I! Thankfully, I now have Genesys Works to help me find my focus, not only in the business world, but in preparing for college as well.

When I first heard about Genesys Works, I was told the program would be able to give me hands-on experience through a paid internship. It definitely caught my interest, but I was reluctant knowing that I had to drop my extracurricular activities to participate. Therefore, I decided to do more homework on Genesys Works. What I found were articles about how the program benefited those it served and how it impacted their lives. I saw how it gave high school students all the amazing opportunities they provide: teaching them technology skills and 21st century skills, providing them with mentors, and offering college counseling. I saw how students grew in confidence, realizing they can have on impact on the world. For me, this was also a chance to distinguish myself from my peers and have access to great resources – which I saw as a chance to be able to make my dream into a reality.

I realized that my questions regarding college and the business world could be answered through my time at Genesys Works, so I decided to apply. After participating in the interview process, I was invited to attend skills training, which I successfully completed. I was excited to finally earn an internship. I was placed at the Genesys Works National Office, and while here, I’ve been shown how to use software systems that I would never have been exposed to in high school. I’ve also been able to gain confidence in my abilities. Supporting the marketing department has helped me develop an interest in a career in marketing. I now see how marketing plays a role in bringing awareness to a brand. I’m actually helping spread the word about Genesys Works by sharing student success stories. Realizing how essential marketing can be to an organization is one of the reasons that I’m really interested in it. I also think that it really suits my personality!

Things only got better with the guidance and resources Genesys Works has provided me for college. The one-on-one meetings have been very helpful when it comes to answering the numerous questions I have. The College and Career Coaching meetings have given me assistance whenever I need it: whether it’s applying to colleges, scholarships, and financial aid – which I didn’t even know about until the first meeting!

I’m on track to graduate high school in May, and I’ve been accepted to four colleges. I’m really excited about my prospects and what the future holds. I know that none of this would have been possible without Genesys Works. I also know that whichever school I decide to attend, whatever major I decide to pursue, my dreams are becoming reality.

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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 genesysworks.org.