Boston Fed’s internship program for lower-income youth delivers ‘lasting, positive impact’
'Today's Interns, Tomorrow's Professionals' program offers real-world professional workforce training
Joselyn Rosario Santiago picks up the 45 bus in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood for her commute to downtown Boston’s Financial District—an area of the city she didn’t know well even though she grew up just a few miles away. But now, this is where she works, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. And this is where she says she’s being given a chance to show what she can do for the first time.
“Before I started working here at the Bank, I didn’t really listen to what anyone had to say to me,” Rosario Santiago said. “A lot of people did underestimate me. I knew I was capable of doing good things, but people didn’t give me the opportunity.”
Rosario Santiago has been making the trip to the Boston Fed for a year and a half as part of the Bank’s work and learning internship program, Today’s Interns, Tomorrow’s Professionals (TIP).
The TIP program is for eligible high school students who have completed their sophomore year in the Boston Public Schools. It starts with a summer work experience, complete with job coaching and skill-building workshops. Then, some students—like Rosario Santiago—are offered an extended, year-round internship based on availability of openings and individual interest, effort, and performance, according to the program’s manager Dawn Hicks.
The Boston Fed recruits and hires program participants in collaboration with the Boston Private Industry Council, a long-time partner in the Bank’s work to provide opportunities to Greater Boston’s lower-income youth.
The initiative is organized and managed by the Bank’s community development group as part of their regional efforts to expand access to quality employment opportunities for lower-income workers.
“We know that programs like this that invest in human capital can have a lasting, positive impact on individuals’ careers and financial outcomes,” said Boston Fed First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ken Montgomery, who also serves as chair of the Boston Private Industry Council.
“The TIP program not only helps to provide meaningful employment and training opportunities, but it’s good for business,” he said. “It builds a pipeline of diverse, intellectually curious, and talented young professionals who can add value to the work of our Reserve Bank.”
The interns are embedded within departments across the Bank—from IT to human resources—and also participate in supplemental learning workshops. The workshops focus on both hard- and soft-skill development and have been designed based on leading research and best practices, according to Hicks.
“The program provides a footing for these young adults to advance in the workforce through a combination of entry-level job training, interpersonal skills development, and real-world enrichment,” she said.
For instance, Boston Fed staff provide money management training when the interns are about to receive their first paychecks, Hicks said.
“Students like Joselyn who have come through this program have shown that they’re driven, they want to learn, and they appreciate the opportunity before them,” Hicks said. “We’ve had quite a few interns stay on as valued Bank employees. That’s a testament to the value-add of this program—for both the interns and the organization.”
Rosario Santiago said the Boston Fed has allowed her to stretch and learn in new ways.
“I actually feel more proud of myself and feel way better when I leave work,” she said.