Being prepared for your first job takes more than good grades. For some local high schoolers, it’s never too early to gain experience and prepare for the future outside of the classroom.
United Way for Southeastern Michigan and Quicken Loans have teamed up to help students do just that. Together, they created The Network, an eight-session program designed to provide students with the necessary tools to excel in the real world.
“It’s a blast,” explains Bryan Beran, project manager at the Quicken Loans Community Fund. “It’s a way to show kids what lies ahead. If they can see examples of it, then they can see themselves doing it, too. It’s exciting to be a part of something so impactful.”
Through teacher recommendations, more than 120 students from four Detroit schools are chosen to attend the program. Each student is matched with a Rock Family of Companies mentor. The challenging sessions are designed to teach students valuable skills including resume building, financial know-how, interview preparation and personal branding. Students can even opt in for professional headshot photos.
This program is just a part of United Way’s College and Career Pathways work, which aims to prepare high school students for success in college and careers right out of high school.
“Quicken Loans is invested in our community’s youth,” Beran said. “We see the value in Detroit students being prepared for life after high school, and we want to contribute to it.”
The sessions take place in a bustling environment that encourages participants to envision a bright future for themselves – downtown Detroit.
“It’s a great way for students to get out of their comfort zone,” says Audrey Walker, corporate relations director at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “It’s valuable for them to be downtown, to see the Quicken Loans locations and to interact with community leaders. They really are creating a network.”
The final session doubles as a career fair which gives students the opportunity to apply for summer internships within the Rock Family of Companies. It’s one of the many ways that United Way’s education work gives students a glimpse of what their future could hold.
As The Network completes its fifth year, the program has made a name for itself among students and employers alike.
“Students are proud to be a part of it,” says Walker. “And we’re proud to help make it happen.”
Other opportunities like The Network can be found on our volunteer portal at UnitedWaySEM.org/volunteer.