United Way pilots new internship program for Detroit students

Monday, July 8, 2019

Following a competitive national application process, United Way for Southeastern Michigan has been selected to pilot one of four locally-sponsored NAF Future Ready Labs in the country. Earlier today, the organization officially launched its pilot on the campus of Wayne State University. United Way’s lab will offer students opportunities to participate in high-quality paid internships. Unlike traditional one-to-one internships, multi-week experiences will be offered to upwards of 25 students who will be able to apply classroom skills while learning what it takes to succeed in life.

NAF Labs compliment United Way’s College and Career Pathways (CCP) initiative, part of the organization’s Education impact strategy along with Health & Basic Needs, and Economic Prosperity. The CCP initiative currently supports the curriculum at 10 Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) high schools to better ensure students graduate prepared for college and/or a career. The Labs will enhance the CCP experience with an innovative solution toward closing the internship gap.

Working in partnership with DPSCD, business partners, and NAF, students will participate in an internship experience with comprehensive structure. The interns will also complete a project of value for the business sponsors in a collaborative team-based environment, participate in skill-building workshops, and connect with professionals who may also serve as mentors. To further enhance the experience United Way will assemble an advisory board comprised of business professionals and community leaders. The advisory board will support development of workforce talent in high schools such that students are better prepared for a variety of industries post- graduation.

United Way has partnered with JOURNi, a non-profit dedicated to equipping communities with the skills and know-how to jump start local economies, and local agency Strategic Community Partners offering additional technical assistance, to support the pilot.

In addition to United Way’s NAF Lab pilot in Wayne County, other lab pilots are also expected to lunch across the nation in the following locations:

  • Harford County, Maryland
  • Cabarrus County, North Carolina
  • Orange County, Florida

For more information about United Way for Southeastern Michigan and its impact strategies, visit www.UnitedWaySEM.org.

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About United Way for Southeastern Michigan 
United Way for Southeastern Michigan mobilizes the caring power of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties to improve lives in measurable and lasting ways throughout the region. The organization is supported by a diverse group of volunteers from business, labor, government, human services, education and the community. United Way provides opportunities to invest in the metropolitan Detroit community through volunteerism, advocacy and its annual campaign. United Way is a leader in convening partners to achieve positive outcomes around Health, Education, and Economic Prosperity. For more information visit www.UnitedWaySEM.org

About NAF:

NAF is a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure that high school students are college, career, and future ready. NAF works with high need communities to transform the high school experience through an educational design that includes industry-specific curricula, work-based learning experiences, and relationships with business professionals, culminating in a paid internship. NAF academies fit within and enhance school systems, allowing NAF to become an integral part of a plan for higher achievement at a low cost. NAF academies focus on one of five career themes: finance, hospitality & tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. During the 2018-19 school year, over 100,000 students attended 617 NAF academies across 35 states, including DC and the US Virgin Islands. In 2018, NAF academies reported 99% of seniors graduated with 87% of graduates planning to go to college. For more information, please visit www.naf.org.