Genesys Works - Chicago serves students through a holistic program which begins the summer before their senior year and runs for one calendar year. There are several different aspects of the program that come into play throughout the year.
A student's first step in Genesys Works is to complete summer training. During the summer, students complete 8 weeks of intensive IT skills and professional skills training. Students use Cisco IT Essentials curriculum to develop a foundation of technological skills. The course engages students in hands-on computer hardware activities, software installation and imaging, and a variety of problem-solving activities designed to increase students' computer troubleshooting knowledge. Students are also taught the necessary professional skills that will allow them to thrive in a corporate environment. The training covers topics ranging from interview skills, professional writing and communication standards, and corporate culture. Outside of the classroom, students also participate in a lecture series presented by our corporate partners.
In the fall, students who have successfully completed summer training are placed in paid internships within the IT departments of Chicago companies such as Accenture and TransUnion. Throughout their senior year, students become valuable members of their client organizations. They gain exposure to the corporate world and gain confidence that they can succeed as professionals. This new involvement within the corporate community leads students to the realization that a college education is essential for their professional growth. The final component of the Genesys Works program is Career and College Connections, which helps students explore their options for a professional career path. This weekly evening class is conducted throughout the school year. A dedicated Career and College coach helps each student work through the college application and financial aid process.
The Genesys Works model is unique in its focus on bridging the gap between education and business, making local businesses a partner providing new opportunities to our low-income youth. The combined focus on the need for education and the potential for a professional career create a new mindset in the students who participate in the Genesys Works program.
Specifically, we recruit:
Growing up on Chicago's west side, the odds were stacked against Iyesha Thornton. In her formative years, Iyesha saw many people in her community struggle with addiction. Her family was forced to cope with homelessness.
Yet despite these disadvantages early in life, Iyesha pushed herself towards achievement and joined Genesys Works - Chicago, class 2. After demonstrating that she really wanted to succeed, she was placed in an internship at Polsinelli Shughart, one of the top 100 law firms in the country according to the National Law Journal. Through this internship Iyesha has gained exposure to the professional world and had decided to pursue a higher education in two professional fields - Law and Information Technology.
Iyesha states, "I have always been motivated to succeed but Genesys Works has given me the confidence that I can succeed." Iyesha is currently enrolled in her freshman year at the University of Southern California.