We’re now a month into the new school year, and some young Detroiters are moving forward with not one but two graduations to celebrate. Over the course of 9 months, 25 Detroit students had the opportunity to participate as interns at Rocket Companies through Urban Alliance, a national organization focused on workforce development and career readiness for high school students in underserved communities. In addition to graduating high school earlier this summer, the participating students also graduated the Urban Alliance program.
We brought Urban Alliance’s flagship intern program to Detroit in 2018, with Rocket Companies as the anchor employer. To date, 300 Detroit high school students have gone through the program, with over half of the students interning at Rocket Companies. Some interns have subsequently been offered full time employment with Rocket Companies.
The partnership is a win-win for both organizations. “Rocket’s extensive network and resources provides our young participants with access to valuable internships, mentorship programs, and career development opportunities that may have been otherwise inaccessible,” said Alphonso Amos, Executive Director of Urban Alliance in Detroit.
Jonathan Pulley, Career Education Program Manager for the Rocket Community Fund, wholeheartedly agrees. “I have had many Urban Alliance interns tell me that thanks to their internship with Rocket Companies, new doors have opened up, expanding their view of career choices and putting them ahead of their peers. Several have told me they envision themselves working at the organization long-term,” he said. “Being able to intern at a well-known company like Rocket gives Detroit high school students a huge opportunity to build their future economic journey, social capital and understand the skills it takes to be successful in the workplace. This partnership with Urban Alliance gives me hope that minority students will be put ahead of the curve and granted new opportunities to help build their future careers.”
At the end of summer, we celebrated the graduation of the 2023 Urban Alliance Detroit cohort with a ceremony at The Garden Theater in downtown Detroit. It was an exciting and emotional event for all involved. Amos has high hopes for this cohort of Urban Alliance graduates – and with Urban Alliance’s proven track record of success, it’s clear to see why.
“Through meaningful real-world work experiences and on-the-job mentoring, our students will gain a boost in their self-esteem and confidence which are essential now and for their long-term success in any chosen career path,” he said. “Our high school internship students will be empowered to pursue their goals, take on challenges, and advocate for themselves.” Watch the video above to see more from the Urban Alliance 2023 graduation, featuring those who worked behind the scenes to support the students through their internship experience.
Article and video produced by Rocket Community Fund. Since 2018 Rocket Community Fund has hosted more than 100 interns and sponsored over 50 to be placed at nonprofit sites across metro Detroit.