Say Yes Buffalo is providing another support that will help students prepare for careers while in college. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the organization received a $250,000 grant from The Citi Foundation to help students gain access to internship programs.
“The Youth Workforce Fund is part of The Citi Foundation’s three-year, $100-million global Pathways to Progress initiative,” said Robin Wolfgang, Citi Foundation spokeswoman, during a news conference hosted by SUNY Buffalo State.
Wolfgang said for the second time Say Yes Buffalo has been selected for this grant because it's well-established and continues to produce results. Citi Foundation is a global organization. It awarded grants to only nine cities.
Say Yes executive director David Rust said the Youth Workforce Fund is the “key end” of its pipeline to support Buffalo public and charter school students on college scholarships who are seeking seek a career path.
The first round of funding allowed more than 50 Say Yes students to be placed internships at 43 workplaces. Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan had two student interns.
“But I think we had them both thoroughly hooked on a career in the law,” remarked Eagan.
21-year-old Jean Michel, Jr. is a senior at Buffalo State. He was a graduate of The Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts School. After interning with Judge Eagan he decided he wants to be a lawyer and took his LSAT’s last weekend.
“What intrigues you about the law?” Buckley asked. “I, especially with our political climate we have now, I am very big on the school to prison pipeline, the injustices that prisoners face in the criminal justice field and I just want to be able to aid those who may not have the best resources in the legal field to help represent them,” replied Michel.
19-year-old Madeline Little is a Hutch Tech graduate. She's in her third year at SUNY Fredonia and is a journalism major. She completed an internship at Say Yes and learn how to make publications.
“I actually put out my third publication this month and I’m hoping for many more. I’m actually improving it this semester because of what I’ve learned – I’m ahead of the game in class,” responded Little.
Both students remarked Say Yes scholarship funding has provided them an opportunity to attend college and now head toward desired careers.
“Youth Workforce Fund grantees are helping to equip local youth with the skills and training necessary to fill employment needs in their communities,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation. “By addressing the skills mismatch these organizations are opening new doors for young workers across America and introducing them to long-term, meaningful career opportunities in their local communities.”