Building Opportunities through Skills Transparency
Urban Alliance is a national organization that provides high school students with paid internship experiences, job skills training, mentoring, and post-secondary support, helping build their pathway to future economic self-sufficiency.
Urban Alliance approached us to conduct a program review of its flagship High School Internship Program and produce a set of recommendations for re-design, with an eye toward connecting the various learning experiences that students have in the program, focusing on the building of skills.
Using grounded research, we conducted interviews and focus groups with 11 staff, 5 mentors and 14 youth and led a visioning workshop with leaders from all 5 national sites. We synthesized the data to develop insights and recommendations to present back to the organization. In the second phase of the project, Convergence worked with UA to develop an integrated and intentionally designed approach for skills transparency so that interns can receive meaningful feedback necessary for growth, allow their skills to become more transparent, shareable, and portable, and help youth better connect to opportunities for success beyond the internship. This is being carried out through the design of elements such as an intern growth portfolio, a suite of mentor-intern communication tools, and a reimagining of learning content and the weekly workshop as a space for connection between work experience, social-emotional skill-building, and post-secondary planning.