INROADS founder Frank Carr's goal was to give disadvantaged youth a pathway to corporate America that he felt wasn't there. Miriam Velez is a product of his vision. She became an "INROADer" as a high school senior in 2000 and now is the director of alumni relations and external aff airs at INROADS, based in New York City.
INROADS staff members train and place students into paid corporate internships by helping INROADers with résumés, developing their leadership skills, providing tutoring and mentoring, and leading them in mock interviews. Twentythree percent of INROADS interns are Hispanic, and rank in the top 10 percent of their senior class.
"They let you know what to expect, and they really tailor that information toward that specific company that you are interviewing with," said Ms. Velez. "You go into your interview confi dent and prepared and aware of what you bring to the table."
INROADS matches an intern with one to three companies that best balance the individual's career interests with hopes of employment. Upon completing an internship, between 60 to 87 percent of INROADS interns gain full-time managerial employment with their matched company.
Ms. Velez was matched with Bank of New York, JPMorgan Chase and Procter & Gamble. After Ms. Velez landed five summer internships at JPMorgan Chase in various departments, the company hired her as a full-time employee. However, her heart was always set on returning to INROADS.
To start INROADS, Mr. Carr quit his executive-level day job, called colleagues for favors and cultivated partnerships with 17 sponsoring corporations for a budding group of 25 college students in 1970 and by 1985 it was a national company. Those numbers have increased to more than 200 corporate partnerships and 24,000 INROADS leaders having graduated from 36 offices in the United States, Canada and Mexico. "These aren't internships where you go get folks coffee," Ms. Velez said. "These are internships where you're doing solid project work and you're impacting the bottom line of the company."
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