At the Quicken Loans Community Fund, we’re committed to providing students in our home communities with a pathway to employment through strategic investments in education and job training. A critical component of this strategy is professional development through real-life experience, which is why we are proud to partner with Urban Alliance.
Urban Alliance (UA) provides economically-disadvantaged young people with access to the exposure, opportunity, support, and training needed to prepare them for lifelong economic self-sufficiency. UA has more than 20 years of success in improving post-high school outcomes for its students, with an incredible 100% of UA students graduating high school and more than 90% gaining acceptance to college.
We knew this program could help Detroit students, so we joined other funders, including the Skillman Foundation, to bring UA’s flagship High School Internship Program (HSIP) to Detroit in 2018. In addition to funding the program, the Rock FOC became the anchor employer for Urban Alliance students.
The Pilot Program in Detroit
In its first year in Detroit, a pilot group of 40 students from Breithaupt Career Technical Center, Osborn High School, and Randolph Career Technical Center were provided with:
- A nine-month, paid, professional internship (part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer);
- Intensive job and life skills training, which consists of 4-6 weeks of pre-employment training followed by nine months of weekly skill-building workshops;
- One-on-one mentoring from a business professional and UA’s program coordinators;
- Post-high school planning support; and
- Lifelong college and career assistance.
The program was a huge success! Upon completion, 75% of participants planned to enroll in a two-or four-year college, 15% planned to pursue full-or part-time employment, and 10% planned to enroll in a continued training program.
“This internship has opened doors for me that I didn’t know existed. It made me realize I want to pursue college; experiencing my own success and being around people who are successful themselves has encouraged me to get my own degree because I now know that I am capable of it.” Alondra Browning, UA Intern, Quicken Loans Client Relations Team
For Alondra and the other 20+ Urban Alliance students currently interning at the Rock FOC, the experience has been critical in building not only excitement about their future career, but also real, practical skills that will help them grow as professionals.
COVID-19 Response: Supporting Our UA Interns
Fast-forward to 2020, when an unprecedented global crisis pushed the Quicken Loans Community Fund to support UA in a new way.
Millions of people lost their jobs as businesses closed and residents began to shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Quicken Loans Community Fund and the broader Rock FOC worked to adjust our operations based on the new realities of COVID-19, we wanted to ensure our UA interns could also continue to gain valuable experience and receive their fair pay.
We knew that 80% of those participating in the program contribute their earnings to household expenses, so we wanted to make sure they could still work and help their families. Unfortunately, one out of three of the interns in the Detroit UA HSIP program did not have computers or internet access at home. This was an incredible roadblock as social distancing practices required team members and interns to work remotely.
To address this challenge, we permanently donated 20 laptops to our UA interns, so they could continue working on projects for school as well as their internships. UA also worked with student’s families to ensure they could enroll in Comcast’s Internet Essentials program and receive low-cost high-speed internet access.
“Our students – already burdened with so many worries during this uncertain time – should not have to carry the added burden of worrying about whether they will receive their next paycheck,” UA stated in a blog post on their website. “Thanks to the generous support of partners like Quicken Loans, our interns can continue their workforce development and professional growth with greater peace of mind.”
As we continue to welcome new interns into the program each year, we’re renewing our efforts to ensure that our UA interns and all Detroit students are supported with the resources, skills and training they need to build a stable future. We will continue to make intentional investments and form meaningful partnerships to achieve that goal.