Jan 31, 2022
Twenty-five years ago, a brave Anacostia High School student asked a compelling question at an assembly. She asked how she could participate in an internship, one that might help her to move on to college. That question motivated Andrew Plepler, the guest speaker and a community development banker, to launch a nonprofit dedicated to making internships, a rite of passage for upper middle-class students, accessible to young and low-income people of color. Since then, the Urban Alliance has made internships possible for 6000 students in Washington DC, Chicago, Baltimore and Detroit. And the experience goes deeper than a 10-month stint with an employer. Urban Alliance provides a 6-week bootcamp to get students job-ready and places them with a company, nonprofit or public-sector agency that provides on-the-job training and a mentor. AS CEO Elizabeth Lindsey explains, the skills employers need and how to attain them are changing and not all pathways to careers are the same. She wants all students to dream about what is possible and about the impact they want to have. The next chapter for Urban Alliance is expansion and a policy presence that advances the mission.