Transition work

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The INROADS organization is a great ally for American Indian students seeking corporate-level employment.

Through its program, American Indian and other minority students can gain paid internships with one of 400 corporate clients. Many are Fortune 500 companies.

Once accepted into the INROADS program, students receive professional guidance to obtain any one of these paid-internships. As an intern, participants continue to receive year-round coaching and training.

Corporations involved with INROADS benefit in return from the recruitment, training and placement of skilled minority youth. In 2007, 60 percent of INROADS graduating interns accepted offers from sponsoring companies.

Charles Cornelius, INROADS President and CEO described the process in a recent release, “We do this through an active national recruiting campaign and by providing superior training and coaching to our students. Additionally, our staff members work one-on-one with each student to ensure both academic and professional success is met,” said Cornelius.

The idea of INROADS began in 1963 as the late Frank C. Carr, a successful white businessman, joined a quarter million people in Martin Luther King Junior’s march on Washington. He watched as King delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream Speech.” Carr returned from the speech with a mission. He wanted to assist minority youth in contributing to the corporate world.

In 1970, Carr quit his job as regional manager of a publishing company to focus his efforts on the creation of INROADS. Carr’s desire was “to develop and place talented minority youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership.”

Moonlighting in the evenings as a computer tape-disk operator, Carr used his daytime hours to create the successful INROADS organization in Chicago. The organization initially assisted 25 minority students in obtaining internship positions within 17 corporations.

Carr passed away in 1996. However, due to Carr’s selfless determination and efforts, more than 20,000 minority students have since graduated the program. Many are now working in management and executive roles in some of the United States’ largest and most prestigious companies.

Today, INROADS is an international organization with more than 40 offices in the United States, Mexico and Canada and annually assists more than 4,500 Interns at over 400 companies.

Jenny Patten is an American Indian graduate of Stanford University that majored in Political Science. She is also an INROADS Alumna.

In a release, Patten discussed the advantage American Indian students have when entering the corporate arena. She also gave credit to the program for the success she has accomplished in her life.

“Without INROADS, I would have never known the abundant amount of corporate opportunities waiting to snatch up talented, smart Native American students. They (INROADS) provided me with the building blocks for a successful career,” Patten said.

David Davis, INROADS national recruiter also remarked in the release about the advantage American Indians have, “These companies are looking for Native American employees and do not have enough applicants, especially in the critical need areas such as engineering, computer sciences, accounting and retail management. We just don’t have as many Native American applicants as we would like,” he said.

This information is good news to American Indians. Students that maintain the INROADS organizations standards of excellence will have numerous positions available to them when entering the corporate market.

Even better news, the standards are not too formidable. High School and college students must maintain a “B” average, attend professional development sessions and complete a series of online courses relevant to their major, industry or internship.

In addition to corporate internship training at INROADS, participants must also complete community service. INROADS views such service as a way for students to build leadership skills, while simultaneously serving their communities.

In August of 2008, INROADS sponsored a “National Day of Leadership,” in which INROADS interns performed community service to more than 40 communities across the country. Projects conducted by program participants benefitted food banks, homeless shelters, schools, senior centers and assisted living facilities.

Ultimately, the INROADS program’s success is because it offers corporate training through internships with a system of support. In addition, students are expected to adhere to strict guidelines of performance and perform community service. Participants graduate the INROADS program as well-rounded and viable candidates to the companies for which they work.

According to INROADS, 80 percent of Alumni think they were better prepared for their initial full-time job than non-INROADS colleagues were.

As a company that has received the “America’s Top 10 Internships” award from the Princeton Review and Vault every year since 1994, INROADS proves to be an extremely positive force for American Indian students seeking professional careers.

For additional information go to www.INROADS.org.