Say Yes Buffalo receives $250,000 grant to expand paid internship program

Oct 24, 2017

A partnership that links young people to paid internships in Buffalo will be expanding through a grant announced Tuesday.

Say Yes Buffalo will receive a $250,000 grant from the Citi Foundation's Youth Workforce Fund, which supports opportunities for young people to develop skills and prepare for the workforce. It was one of 15 such awards granted throughout the United States.

Danielle Burruss, a Buffalo State student, speaks of how the Say Yes Buffalo Internship and Career Pathways Program linked her to two paid internships as part of her career development. The program has won a $250,000 grant from the Citi Foundation.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

"The Citi Foundation, through the Youth Workforce Fund, is thrilled to have found a new partner in Say Yes," said Robin Wolfgang, vice president and communications officer for Citi Buffalo. "This non-profit organization provides opportunities previously unavailable, to get more young people in real world environments, thus offering a better chance for future economic mobility and success."

Say Yes Buffalo's Internship and Career Pathways Program is open to graduates of Buffalo public high schools and current or recently graduated college students. Danielle Burruss, a senior at Buffalo State College, is an aspiring graphic designer who has participated in the program. Her internships were with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

"Although the internship program has only been around since last year, I believe my fellow scholars would agree with me by saying since last summer, the internship program has made a big difference in our lives," she said. 

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership works in cooperation with Say Yes Buffalo in the Internship and Career Pathways Program, recruiting and supporting participating local companies.

"Internships are vital part of workforce development," said Buffalo Niagara Partnership president and chief executive officer Dottie Gallagher Cohen. "It is how we are going to keep young people in our community, to connect them with local employers so they can see their opportunities for their future."

Although the number of local internships was not readily available, Citi's Youth Workforce Fund is expected to affect more than 5,000 youth across the nation.