The Need for Social Capital
Social Capital refers to the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society that are leveraged to create positive outcomes in the world. Research shows that a paid internship drastically increases a college graduate’s likelihood of securing a job offer upon graduation. For young people of color, young people coming from low income backgrounds, or first generation college students, connections to paid internships are more difficult to secure without social capital.
Low-income students face several barriers for economic mobility, including access to professional opportunities and higher education. Internships significantly increase the likelihood of a student receiving a job offer upon college graduation, due to the expansion of their social network, professional experience, and developed skill set.
By offering paid internships, we remove the economic barrier that students face if they were to take an unpaid internship. Although unpaid internships have value, the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that students who had paid internships were twice as likely to secure a job.
First Workings is built upon the realization that opportunities for career advancement are strongly rooted in income and quality of education, circumstances that are out of our young people’s control. First Workings’ mission is to give students the opportunity to build social capital through paid summer internships, which can lead to professional relationships, mentorships, letters of recommendations, and future job opportunities.
We build our students’ social capital through four main efforts:
- Professional training
- Placement in paid internship experiences
- Comprehensive support
- Efforts to foster professional experiences
This experience provides underserved and underrepresented students with tools and resources they wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. Providing paid internships, along with First Workings’ support including a MetroCard and lunch stipend, erases the financial barrier that prevents underserved students from pursuing such opportunities. Additionally, tailored professional training and a support line for students, companies, and families, helps ensure that our interns enjoy a successful experience. First Workings aims to broaden students’ horizons by giving them the opportunity to experience a professional environment and to build connections that could help them in the future.
These experiences have led to the discovery of a career or industry, letters of recommendation on college applications, future internships or employment, and long-term professional mentors for our students. Similarly, companies have benefited enormously from having new and unique perspectives, and a boosted sense of energy. We hope you’ll join us in supporting our mission!