Eddie Amoah, Northern Virginia 2016

At first, Eddie Amoah wanted to quit his Urban Alliance internship. But his UA program coordinator had seen how much he had already grown during pre-employment training, and convinced him to stay. And Eddie is so grateful that she did.

“The fact that she didn’t let me lose the opportunity with Urban Alliance that I had, that’s the most important impact that this company has had on me thus far: the fact that they didn’t let me quit, they persisted and kept with me. Even though I gave up on them, they didn’t give up on me,” Eddie said.

Knowing that someone had his back and was invested in his success transformed Eddie’s perspective on his internship, which he had initially signed up for just to earn a paycheck. Eddie started to take pride in his work, and learned to take more ownership over the final product. He brought that mindset to the classroom as well, bringing his GPA up from 2.7 to the 3.5-3.7 range.

Soon, Eddie started rethinking his plans for the future, and realized that the professional world is where he wants to be. His internship at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gave him the chance to meet and learn from top executives, and Eddie also had the chance to bolster his public speaking skills by representing Urban Alliance at venues like Virginia Tech.

Noting Eddie’s burgeoning interest in a future law enforcement career, his mentor took the time to relate help Eddie see the connection between the work he was doing and the criminal justice field. That new lens helped Eddie realize that a lot of the skills he was learning both on the job and during workshops would serve him all his life, from time management, to financial capability and networking.

“They want to prepare us for life,” Eddie said. “They give us a lot of financial advice, and in the real world that isn’t free, you have to pay for that type of stuff. They would have PNC [Bank] reps come out and help us set up checking accounts and give financial advice on how to save and budget. Also with [the] FASFA, a lot of times when you go through the process, they just give you what you need to get by, but they don’t tell you all the little loopholes and all the different things that apply for getting financial aid from the government.”

Eddie graduated from Virginia State University and is now a research assistant at American Directions Research Group. He thinks of Urban Alliance as a turning point in his life, changing his career path and inspiring him to work harder.

“They really don’t give up on the students, and that’s really important for me, because without them I wouldn’t be here right now,” Eddie said. “The opportunities are endless. They can help you as far as getting a job, they also open up a lot of different doors for you … They’ll always take care of you and look out for you.”