This Way Ahead 2018 Graduation
Congratulations to our This Way Ahead 2018 Internship graduates! 2018 was our biggest summer yet—84 youth from San Francisco and Oakland completed their 10-week internships and 65 were offered continued employment. How amazing is that? Having an extra big group made our graduation ceremony at Gap Inc headquarters extra special. The energy in the room was buzzing as students gathered to eat delicious food and show off their accomplishments to their families and peers.
This year our graduation guest speaker was Brent Hyder, Gap’s Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer. He gave students some no-nonsense advice about the world of work—and even suggested that one of the youth in the audience might take his job someday. We are so thankful for Brent’s energy and advocacy for our youth—but the evening really belonged to this year’s Intern speaker, Onesha Cotton. Onesha is an 18 year old graduate of Abraham Lincoln high school, and will be attending San Francisco City College this Fall. Onesha completed her internship at Banana Republic Grant Avenue.
Working at Banana Republic was a real growing experience for Onesha—and a few times she was taken out of her comfort zone a little. “I came [to Enterprise] to extend my abilities and talent,” she said. “The trainings helped me realize that in order to succeed you have to do things you’ve never done before.” She took the challenges and new experiences in stride, and gained confidence as customers complimented her work.
For most of this year’s This Way Ahead interns, this was their very first job experience. Many learned new skills or sharpened the skills they needed to be successful on the sales floor (and beyond). All of this summer’s interns had an experience they can take with them into their future careers. Onesha captures the sentiments of this year’s interns when she says, “Out of this experience, I will always remember that in order to expand myself, I must push myself out of my comfort zone.” The evening wrapped up with sharing stories, laughter, and pictures to commemorate this year’s achievements.
Thanks to the Gap Foundation for their partnership with Enterprise for Youth to provide the youth of San Francisco their first job. I am very proud to work on this project and I am very proud of all the youth who participated in This Way Ahead this year. —Mario Cruz, Youth Development Director