Local nonprofit wants to place low-income youth in IT jobs

Jeff Tollefson, Genesys Works Chief Strategic Growth Officer  COURTESY OF PICASA

Jeff Tollefson, Genesys Works Chief Strategic Growth Officer 

COURTESY OF PICASA

Mark Sturgis, executive director of Seeding Success, is hoping to help cure a supply and demand imbalance in the Bluff City.

"Memphis has a huge demand for entry level IT professionals and, on the opposite side, we have a huge pool of high school students who are at risk of dropping out of school for one reason or another," Sturgis said.

Sturgis, whose nonprofit works with schools, businesses and other organizations on cradle-to-career success, recently applied for a $50,000 grant to bring a workforce development program focused on IT needs to Memphis.

Founded in 2002, Genesys Works is a nonprofit that trains and employs disadvantaged high school students to work in the IT departments of major corporations. The organization is currently working in Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

This spring, Genesys Works announced it was actively seeking new partner cities and had four $50,000 planning grants to expand the program; Sturgis applied.

Unlike most high school internships which last a few weeks over the summer, Genesys Works trains and places low-income high school students with a company for the duration of their senior year.