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Mayor's Office

Posted on: February 13, 2020

Workforce Development Internship Program for High School Juniors & Seniors Announced

Winston-Salem Office of the Mayor logo

NEWS RELEASE
Office of the Mayor
Feb. 13, 2020

As part of the comprehensive program to reduce poverty and promote workforce development and economic mobility, Mayor Allen Joines, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Angela Hairston, Winston-Salem Chamber President Mark Owens and Truist Regional President Cantey Alexander announced today a paid internship program for high school juniors and seniors in low-income households.

The program will pay students $10 an hour for 10 hours per week, and is open to students who live in households with an income of 80 percent or less of the average median income of the county.

The Truist Charitable Fund has provided a grant of $1.2 million for the program. Local employers and other organizations will match this grant to finance internships for up to 165 students a year, beginning in the fall of 2020. Over the six-year life of the program, it will assist about 1,000 students.

The Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce will administer the program, secure the participation of employers and line up other sponsors of the program as needed. 

The internship program is designed to be what Joines called "a natural beginning of a more comprehensive effort to excite students from low-income families about their career possibilities. We want to expose young people to new experiences and opportunities, put money in their pockets, and propel their interest in attending Forsyth Tech or other secondary schools to pursue a degree or trade certification."

Alexander said, "Truist is pleased to provide the initial funding for this exciting program. Our investment fully aligns with our company’s purpose to build and inspire better lives and communities. There is no better way to do that than support programs that encourage youth to seek new opportunities and create a promising future for themselves."

Workforce development is one of the top priorities of the chamber, Owens said. "We are very grateful to Truist for this very generous contribution to our community," he said. "The Chamber of Commerce sees tremendous potential for this internship program to help develop the workforce of tomorrow."

Likewise, Hairston said, "This paid internship program fits very well with the efforts being made in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools to engage students into the world of work and career exploration. We are delighted to participate."

The program will focus on internships that allow participating students to work on afternoons and Saturdays. Participants in the program will be encouraged to build on their experience by taking advantage of the College Guarantee Program at Forsyth Technical Community College after high school. Financial literacy training will also be included.

The College Guarantee Program, announced last October, will provide scholarships to students in low-income households who graduate from any high school in Forsyth County so they can attend Forsyth Technical Community College free of charge. 

Joines said the internship program – like the College Guarantee Program -- is yet another way that the community is working together to interrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty. "In order for us to reduce poverty we have to give young people hope, give them new opportunities and help them adopt a career path beyond high school," he said.       

To address poverty in the broader population, in March Joines announced the Partnership for Prosperity, an initiative to implement the recommendations of the Poverty Thought Force.