RICHMOND, Va. -- Grooming fresh, innovative young talent for the workforce and equipping them with technology and tools to stand out when employers are looking to hire is just one mission of the nonprofit Girls For A Change.
The group is preparing high schoolers through their Girl Ambassador Program.
Eleventh grader Iyanna Hardin, who is in her third year, says she was well prepared.has interned with two area businesses who partnered with the Girl Ambassador Program to hire students.
“Especially going into my first internship at Sassy Jones where I often worked on Excel documents, trying to organize different things for their rewards program. It was very helpful in that way,” Hardin explained.
Hardin, who owns her own beauty line called Iyanna Mone Essentials, says the Girl Ambassador Program is making her a better entrepreneur.
“It also helped me become organized and become aware of the things that I would later experience in life," Hardin said. "It gave me that head start.”
Girls For A Change founder Angela Patton says they rely on partnerships with local businesses who hire participants for a six-week paid summer internship.
These students are meeting weekly to sharpen their skills.
“We are taking this time to focus on technology by making sure that they are aware of different software that is out there. They are also working toward their Microsoft 365 certification,” Patton added.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Sassy Jones, Unlocking RVA have signed on so far as hiring partners. But Patton says the program still needs about a dozen more companies to commit.
“How powerful is that for a girl to just sit in a boardroom with you, right? To sit on in a virtual call with you when you're making decisions that most likely impact her life," Patton explained. "We do not want this to be just a summer job. We want you to think about our girls thriving within your company. We want our girls to be ahead of the curve. We are trying to make sure that their job opportunities and entrepreneurship opportunities also lead to them building wealth in their communities, and in their families."
Girls For A Change’s Girl Ambassador Program is hosting some virtual information sessions on March 29 at 5 p.m. and April 13 at 1:30 p.m. for companies who are willing to participate in the 6-week paid intern program.