Empowering Futures: Eckerd Connects’ Unmatched Approach to Career Training and Workforce Development

As National Internship Awareness Month unfolds, Eckerd Connects celebrates the invaluable contributions of employers nationwide who provide our clients and students with real-world internship experiences, often leading to long-term career opportunities. Eckerd Connects, a national non-profit dedicated to empowering young adults through education and career training, collaborates closely with employer partners to craft customized internships that benefit all parties involved. This collaborative effort is exemplified by Eckerd Connects’ Workforce Development and Job Corps programs, which stand as testaments to the program’s success in fostering meaningful career pathways.

“Businesses are looking for trained workers,” said Jonathan Zeigler, Senior Vice President of Operations for Workforce Development. “Our clients are looking for self-sustaining jobs and, of course, the communities we work within are trying to build a strong economy. I think for us, it really starts with each client’s career training goal. We are able to identify their individualized career plan and to match that career plan to a pathway, to a job.”

Deanna Tolliver, Outreach and Recruitment Director notes that Eckerd Connects’ approach is cost-effective for employers.

“Employers see that they have access to a diverse and talented pool of interns. So, they’re not having to go out and recruit on their own and spend their own dime on the recruitment process. We also work very closely with employers to create customized internship programs that match specific needs for them to ensure that interns gain relevant real-life experiences from the internship.”

On a daily basis, hundreds of interns are gaining crucial experience through unique partnerships being developed. Local and regional employer relationships play a pivotal role in helping Eckerd Connects to open career opportunities for students, including through a unique partnership with the City of Denison, Iowa, to support its upcoming infrastructure projects as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. Now students will be able to meet a variety of infrastructure needs for the City including work on parks and recreation projects and routine and upcoming facility maintenance initiatives.

“This partnership with the City of Denison marks a pivotal moment for our campus and our students,” said Paul Williams, Campus Director of Denison Job Corps. “By engaging in real-world projects and working alongside professionals in diverse fields, our students will not only enhance their technical skills but also develop invaluable workplace readiness.”

Jessica Garcia, City Manager of Denison, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “We are thrilled to welcome Denison Job Corps students into our workforce initiatives. Their participation in infrastructure projects and other city initiatives will not only benefit our community but also provide students with meaningful experiences that can pave the way for successful careers.”

More unique internship opportunities are in the works at the Washington, D.C. Potomac Job Corps, where students are exploring workplace opportunities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Typically, you may think that career training expectations are limited to training new FBI special agents; however, there is an entire support network through the agency that creates many workforce opportunities in a wide variety of areas. Imagine having a hospitality internship at their hotel lodging at Quantico or gaining work experience in culinary at their upscale cafeteria as just two examples. For the hard trades, examples include HVAC shop, electrical shop, and automotive shop too.

“This developing partnership holds great meaning to us, and we will work to ensure that our students are well trained to be able to step into whatever internship role the FBI establishes,” said Campus Director Carl Hilliard. “It’s encouraging to see just how excited our students are about this opportunity. We are thankful for the opportunity to work with the FBI and excited to see how this partnership grows.”

“At Eckerd Connects, we have employers who praise the quality of our interns that we place,” added Zeigler. “They note the professionalism, the readiness for work, their ability to contribute from day one.”

At Eckerd Connects, we don’t just prepare our clients and students for jobs; we cultivate future leaders and contributors to society. Our unmatched services not only equip individuals with the skills they need to thrive in their careers but also assist employers in identifying and nurturing their next workforce generation. We believe in a collaborative approach that benefits everyone involved, from the students seeking self-sustaining jobs to the employers striving to build dynamic teams.

If you’re a young adult eager to explore Eckerd Connects programs in your area, visit the website program finder at: https://eckerd.org/find-programs. For employers interested in learning more about our innovative approach and how we can support your workforce needs, contact trjones@eckerd.org today.

As we reflect on the successes of our partnerships during Internship Awareness Month, let’s continue to celebrate these achievements and look forward to fostering even more meaningful collaborations that shape the future of workforce development.

Learn more about:

Job Corps  Workforce Development

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