According to the Boston Private Industry Council, early participation in the workforce has positive, long-term impacts on young people including “the development of hard and soft professional skills, networking opportunities, reduced risk of negative socioeconomic outcomes and criminal behavior, and improved lifelong earning potential.” In Boston, the engagement of young people ages 16 to 24 has been declining in the labor force and there has been a lack of coordination among nonprofit service providers in the region. These two factors prompted one of Boston’s largest employers, State Street Corporation, to launch the Boston Workforce Investment Network (Boston WINs) in June 2015.
Boston WINs is a multi-year, $20-million venture philanthropy initiative founded and led by the State Street Foundation in partnership with five high-performing nonprofits focused on education and career development: Year Up, Bottom Line, College Advising Corps, Boston Private Industry Council, and uAspire. The initiative supports youth along the high school to career continuum by leveraging cross-sector partnerships, integrating employee engagement, matching youth with entry-level job opportunities, and enhancing workforce diversity efforts. Ultimately, State Street wants to create a model that can be replicated outside of Boston.
The cross-sector initiative aims to improve the scale and reach of each member organization, enabling them to do more together than they could do alone. The partners coordinate activities to provide high school juniors and seniors with three key advising services: 1) college knowledge and admissions advising; 2) affordability and financial aid; and 3) work experience and career awareness. The network also provides post high school graduation support.
“A shared vision for the success of Boston youth is what helps fuel our cross-sector partnerships,” states Michael Scannell, senior vice president of Corporate Citizenship and head of the State Street Foundation. “We are weaving together a web of support including nonprofit organizations and our employees in Boston that are empowered and motivated by the vision of strengthening Boston’s future workforce.”
State Street recognizes that the business benefits of Boston WINs include an expanded, diverse talent pipeline, skill building for employees through volunteering, and the advancement of core company values. The company-wide commitment brings employees, financial assets and career opportunities to bear in coordination with State Street Foundation resources.
“The Boston WINs initiative has enabled State Street to expand upon its 35-year history of engaging student interns by bringing more support to students on their path from high school to career,” states Scannell. “The mentoring component especially has helped us meet employee engagement and development goals at State Street while positively impacting the lives of hundreds of students.”
Mentoring is core to State Street’s culture and central to the Boston WINs initiative. The corporate citizenship and workforce development teams partner to engage 200 Boston Public School high school students annually in mentorship/internship opportunities. Mentors and mentees are matched in February and participate in training facilitated by Mass Mentoring. Through regular mentoring engagements, job shadowing, and after school workshops facilitated by Year Up, Bottom Line and partner colleges in the spring, students prepare for their 7-week summer internship placements. Mentors either manage the mentee directly or continue the mentorship relationship solely. State Street’s human resources team works with each mentor/mentee pair to assist with career planning which includes a focus on how the student can return to State Street for a future workforce development engagement.
“The ultimate prize at the end of your education is a job and a career, and we can provide that,” continued Scannell. Over four years, State Street has committed to hiring 1,000 Boston youth.
To learn more about Boston WINs, check out their recent webinar facilitated in partnership with Mass Mentoring and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.
Dan Horgan is the CEO of D.G. Horgan Group and is the Corporate Partnerships Consultant for MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. MENTOR’s mission is to close the “mentoring gap” and ensure our nation’s young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work. To achieve this, MENTOR collaborates with its network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and works to drive the investment of time and money into high impact mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art tools. Connect with MENTOR on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.