Partner Success Story: Universal Adaptive Consulting Services Inc.
Universal Adaptive Consulting Services Inc., a technology and application services firm based in the Richmond area, has hosted several college interns over the years, but the company had never worked with a high school intern before it decided to team with Partnership for the Future.
Valencia Hicks, director of business operations at UACS, said her company saw an opportunity to mentor young students, exposing them to a corporate environment during a key stage of their education, while also contributing to workforce development in the area. The company was thrilled with the results.
“Our student intern brought a youthful spirit and fresh ideas to our office. As she gained confidence, she became an important contributor to our team. We were so proud of her growth with us.”
Hicks said UACS worked with its intern to gradually build her knowledge and expertise over the course of three summers. Each summer, the intern earned more responsibility and the opportunity to learn about different facets of the UACS operations. Hicks said the student had regular tasks to complete and schedules to meet. She was included on client meetings, honing her understanding of good customer service, and given accountability and ownership of her own assignments.
“The PFF internship wasn’t just great for our student intern — it was great
for our company, too.”
“It’s such a valuable thing for them to get to do at that age,” Hicks said. “It’s something I imagine a lot high school students would benefit from. It’s different working in a corporate environment than some typical summer jobs. There are different protocols, different ways that you act and dress. In an internship, they get to work in different departments and to learn about the whole business rather than just a part of it. It can really prepare them to work in a lot of different areas.”
Hicks said UACS decided to partner with PFF with the idea that a student intern could be a future full-time employee. The company’s intern ultimately chose to pursue her dream of becoming a physician, but Hicks said she and her colleagues weren’t disappointed with the decision. They felt proud of the student, and the role that UACS had played in her personal growth. UACS had also already gained a great deal from the student’s contributions, Hicks said.
Partner Success Story: Capital One Financial Corporation
Partnership for the Future and Capital One share a strong bond through the PFF student internship program. Each summer, Capital One hosts 18 PFF interns, and Chip Miller, director of digital workplace technology, said the students always provide a welcome enthusiasm to the workplace.
“[PFF] finds fantastic students with great aptitude, but more than that students with a passion to becoming greater,” Miller said. “They also do an amazing job preparing students to come into a foreign environment and be ready to work and excel.”
Miller said the combination of services PFF offers – from training and internships to college application prep and financial aid application guidance – is “a game-changer” for students. Miller enjoys watching the students’ growth during their time at Capital One.
“The first year we have high-performing students who are getting their legs under them and learning the basics,” Miller said. “The second year they come in and they’re ready to work. They know what to expect, and they’re taking on different practices and taking ownership of different jobs for us, providing some real value. And then the third year they come in like they own the place, which is awesome.”
Miller has been working with PFF interns for 17 years. He said the students provide him with fresh perspective, offering new insight into his community and the interests and preferences of a younger generation preparing to enter the workforce.
Capital One’s involvement with PFF reflects the company’s commitment to the Richmond area, as well as their national commitment to a program called Future Edge that invests in community programs across the country that help people succeed in jobs for the 21st century. Miller notes that employees are eager to share their expertise and mentorship to students.
“People are excited to support these students,” Miller said. “You actually get to become part of somebody’s life and hopefully do some things that will stick with them. That’s the incredible thing. I think people in our company really appreciate the value of that opportunity. ”
Miller said the time that Capital One invests in the PFF student interns is well worth it.
“When they get to the end and you find out where they’re going to school next, there’s such a level of pride and excitement, almost as though it’s your own kid,” Miller said.
Miller remembers one student who was accepted to Yale. Capital One employees who worked with the student had encouraged her to challenge herself and apply to some schools that would “scare” her, based in part on the promise they saw in her.
“I think it really did help provide her some confidence in that direction of being willing to challenge herself,” Miller said. “And she got in and she’s doing great and we couldn’t be more proud.”