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Genesys Works - Chicago

  • Genesys Works - Chicago
  • 180 N Wabash Ave.
    Suite 600
  • Chicago, IL 60601
  • 312-525-9995
  • 2010

Program Description

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:

  • Underprivileged high school students attending schools where at least 80% of the population is on the federal free and reduced lunch program
  • Underprivileged students attending schools that serve between 50% and 80% FRL but whose family income is less than twice the poverty rate
  • Students that place in the 50-90th percentile academically
  • Students that are legally able to work in the United States
  • Students that are able to work half days during their senior year
  • Students that demonstrate interest and ability to succeed through our program

Success Stories

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.

Services Provided

  • Career exploration and counseling/internships
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College transition and retention support
  • Community service/service hours
  • Leadership development
  • Science, tech, engineering, & math (STEM)


Race & Ethnicity

  • White: 5%
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 21%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 38%
  • Other: 4%
  • African American: 32%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 51
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 62
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically At-risk
  • Academically High-performing
  • ESL Students


  • Between 50% and 75%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Central State University
  • Elmhurst University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach
  • Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Marquette University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College
  • Saint Xavier University
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Springfield
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Southern California
  • Washington University in St Louis
  • Western Illinois University
  • Wilberforce University

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 94%
  • 4-yr College Graduation: 70%