Back to School with Gap Inc. and This Way Ahead
Gap Inc. goes back to school with a focus on job skills training
SAN FRANCISCO – August 3, 2011 – Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) isn’t just outfitting students with back to school clothing. We are providing underserved youth with real in-class and in-store training to help them prepare for life after graduation.
For the past five years, we have helped teens explore careers and get job ready through
This Way Ahead, our job training and internship program. Since Gap Inc. was founded in 1969, we have given hundreds of thousands of young people their first job in our retail stores. Our employees have expertise in hiring and training young people and, through This Way Ahead, they volunteer to share their knowledge with underserved youth on what it takes to get and keep a job.
Employees from Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands helped develop the curriculum and take an active role in training and mentoring interns. Of course, we can’t do it alone. The Door (www.door.org), a New York City nonprofit, joined us at the start in 2006. Our joint program was so successful it expanded to San Francisco with Enterprise for High School Students (www.ehss.org) in late 2009.
Monique De La Oz, Supervisor for Career and Leadership Initiatives for The Door noted, “Every year, our partnership with Gap Inc. grows to include more hands-on training and in-store opportunities, bringing valuable skills to the program participants. Word from our alumni is that this program works!”
The program is not easy. Students participating in This Way Ahead spend 20 months completing four program phases:
- Career exploration classes
- Job readiness training sessions facilitated by Gap Inc. employees
- A paid four-month internship with a Gap or Old Navy store
- On-going support from a career coach for 12 months after the end of the internship
After completing the career exploration and job readiness phases, participants who are 16 years of age or older are invited to interview for a four-month, paid internship with a participating Gap or Old Navy store. “This is much more than just a job. I have become more confident and outgoing, and feel as though I can take on any challenge,” said one 17 year-old participant.
- More than 1,000 youth have participated in training since 2006
- 67% of interns have been hired as part-time employees at the end of their internship
- 76% of youth who completed the program showed improvement in job attainment skills
"This Way Ahead changes lives; it builds confidence and ignites new possibilities for the future of young adults in our city. Together, we and Gap Inc. are making a real difference in the lives of the This Way Ahead participants,” said Marcia LoMonaco, This Way Ahead Program Coordinator for Enterprise for High School Students.
Gail Gershon, Senior Director of Employee Engagement and Service Leadership at Gap Inc. added, “This Way Ahead is a win-win. The program gives underserved students the opportunity to develop skills that will be valuable in any professional setting, and more than 80 percent of our employee volunteers said their own professional skills improved due to their involvement in the program.”
About Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. is a leading global specialty retailer offering clothing, accessories and personal care products for men, women, children and babies under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta brands. For more than 40 years, Gap Inc. has supported communities where we live and work through grants, in-kind donations, community outreach and employee volunteer programs. Gap Inc. strives to make a long-term impact in communities by focusing on creating opportunities for underserved youth and women through innovative social solutions. For more information on Gap Inc. community investment, please visit www.gapinc.com/socialresponsibility.
About The Door
Founded in 1972, The Door empowers educationally and economically disadvantaged youth to reach their potential by providing a complete range of services all under one roof. Each year nearly 12,000 young people from all five New York City boroughs come to The Door for primary health care, reproductive care, and health education; mental health counseling; legal services; GED and ESOL classes; tutoring and homework help; college preparation; career development services, job training and placement; daily meals; supportive housing services; and arts, sports and recreational activities. Located in downtown Manhattan and easily accessible from all subway lines, The Door’s services are free, confidential and geared towards youth aged 12-21. For more information, visit www.door.org.
About Enterprise for High School Students
Enterprise for High School Students (EHSS), founded in 1969, empowers and prepares young people for success in employment and higher education. We have served students from almost every public and private high school in San Francisco, providing them with an integrated approach that combines job-readiness training with experiential learning. Students build confidence and skills through workshops, one-on-one guidance, career exploration, and college preparation assistance, and then put those new skills into practice through employment and internships. EHSS also operates one of San Francisco’s largest job banks focused exclusively on high school students. For more information, visit www.ehss.org.