Program Feature: Inside the NEW College Program

Genesys Works is more than a life-changing program for high school seniors. We support our students after high school, as well. Nationally, only 11% of low-income, first-generation college students graduate with a bachelor’s degree within six years.

At Genesys Works, the majority of our students come from this demographic, and our goal is to help students graduate from college and enter the economic mainstream. Since its founding in the Twin Cities, 100% of Genesys Works students have been accepted to college. 97% of these students have enrolled in college directly after high school, and 81% have graduated or are persisting in college. 

While those are impressive numbers, there's still a lot of work to do. And with the help of a generous grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation in 2012, we are now able to provide strategic college and career programming for our alumni.

A group of alumni at the annual winter social.
Helping Students in College
The Genesys Works College Program's goals are to increase alumni post-secondary persistence and graduation rates, and to ensure students' entrance into professional careers. These goals are accomplished by strategic programming and interventions at pivotal points during students’ academic years. The college program assists students with transitioning to college, acquiring financial aid, and troubleshooting the myriad obstacles students face in college.

Alumni and staff at a fall volunteer event.
This fall, we developed a partnership with Augsburg College to establish an on-campus Genesys Works presence. Alumni Coordinator Andrea Perla holds weekly office hours to support our students attending Augsburg. Because of this on campus presence, students find that they're more successful.  

Halimo Ismail, Class 5 alumna, said, “From the first day that I met Andrea, she has become my guide for college. I am very thankful Genesys Works has become a part of my college life, and I hope that there could be an Alumni Coordinator on campus throughout the rest of my college years.”

We also offer our alumni many opportunities to stay engaged with Genesys Works. Events include a winter social, community service outings, and professional development sessions.
Providing Career Resources and Opportunities
In addition to college success, the College Program also focuses on career success. The College Program provides assistance with resumes, cover letters, and interviews. 

Alumni at a recent Dell professional development event.
We also help connect our students to professional opportunities with our corporate partners and at colleges. In addition to providing life-changing experiences for our high school students, our generous corporate partners have extended internship opportunities to 20 Genesys Works college students. 

At the University of Minnesota, Dorothy O’Berry, Class 5 alumna, is working with the IT department to create an IT jobs program for any Genesys Works alumni attending the University of Minnesota. By continuing to provide opportunities such as these, we help students build their professional experience, develop their 21st century skills, and ensure their financial stability in college.
If you are interested in supporting our college students in their pursuit of a college degree and a professional career, please contact Program Manager Blenda Chiu at

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