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HSBC Bank USA Invests in America's Youth

George Westinghouse interns Stephanie Baichu, Eddie Cedeno, and Ghafar Kassim learn about goal setting and taking initiative at their career development workshop.

Thanks to generous support from HSBC Bank USA, 40 students from George Westinghouse Career and Technical High School will participate in the Futures and Options Internship Program this spring.


HSBC Bank USA has supported a Futures and Options Internship Program for George Westinghouse High School youth since 2007.  A total of 95 students from the Brooklyn school have participated in this program, which was launched with 15 students in its initial year and has grown to 40 young men and women this spring.


This Internship Program’s information sessions were much anticipated by Westinghouse students:  more than 70 applied for this year’s program. After a rigorous application and interview process, the George Westinghouse interns began working in mid-February across Manhattan and Brooklyn at for-profit companies, nonprofits and government agencies, including Blackstone, Battery Dance Company, and the Office of the Attorney General.


Over the course of their 12-week internship, interns also receive guidance from our program team during biweekly workshops covering topics such as professionalism, communication, taking initiative and goal setting.  The interns are able to learn both from working on the job and from their peers in these group workshops.


Stephanie Baichu, 11th grade Westinghouse intern, said “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and getting into a real work environment.” And while she admits that it will be “a lot to take on,” she remains excited for the chance to experience the business world from the inside.


Thanks again to HSBC Bank USA for their tremendous support of the young people at George Westinghouse High School!


Career Essentials Students Take on the Business World

Career Essentials students Shereen Khan, Yolibeth Munguia, Crystal Belvuena, and Gary Rivera present their business model.

Gary Rivera, Yolibeth Munguia, Crystal Belvuena and Shereen Khan stepped in front of their audience; company portfolios ready, they were prepared to sell the idea behind their new company to potential “investors,” or the professional volunteers charged with selecting one out of five companies for their investment.

But there’s one thing that sets Gary, Yolibeth, Crystal and Shereen apart from typical entrepreneurs: they’re all between 13 and 14 years old and attend Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS).

This fall, Career Essentials middle and high school students worked in teams on their “Create A Company” projects, which allow students to learn about the business world by inventing their own company, creating business plans, and marketing their ideas to business professionals.

Career Essentials, our work readiness and career exploration program for youth who are not yet of the age or skill level for internships, provides preparation for the work world as well as opportunities for students to learn and practice their interpersonal, communication and presentation skills, while exploring potential careers.

“[Create a Company] is all about students working together to improve their team work and practicing their public speaking skills,” said Matt Ellis, program coordinator for the high school program, “and thinking outside the box.”

“My favorite part of the project was being able to develop this small idea into something big,” said Keven Macareno, freshman at Brooklyn Preparatory High School, whose group created a company offering resources for disabled youth. Plus, he added, “I was able to get creative and learn from my mistakes. I learned that whenever you get stuck on something, it’s because you’re thinking small, and you have to think big.”

At the end of the project, student presentations were judged by a panel of professionals, including volunteers from Deloitte, Gap, Griffin Securities, Sumeria, and Columbia Law School. Winning ideas included an afterschool program targeting disabled students and a low-fat frozen yogurt vendor.

A huge thank you to our fantastic volunteer judges – your participation was a highlight for our students.  Thanks also go to Gap Foundation and Capital One for supporting Career Essentials.



To learn more about Career Essentials, please contact Matt Ellis at mellis@futuresandoptions.org or call 212-601-0002.

Meet Keilon La Barrie

A senior at George Westinghouse High School, Keilon joined Futures and Options in spring 2011 as a sophomore in Career Essentials. He participated in Bridge To Work and is now an  intern at law firm Adam Leitman Bailey, where he has been working afterschool for the past five months.  Keilon went above and beyond the call of duty when he braved the wrath of Hurricane Sandy to come into work.

What kind of skills did you learn during your time with Futures and Options?
I learned punctuality, time management, having a good resume, and interviewing skills. Communication skills also help me out. I learned about how to deal with different personalities – to be successful you have to be able to understand and work with all of them.

Has working with Futures and Options changed you or your plans in any way?
Futures and Options definitely changed me. I wouldn’t be in such a good position in high school. Now I feel comfortable with my resume, and I know how to carry myself professionally. I feel that after college, I can really go out there and get whatever job I want.

You’ve been interning with the law firm of Adam Leitman Bailey for about five months now. What does your average day look like there?
Oh man, there are so many different things. I’ll organize the stock room, take care of filing and storage, work on the website, and make deliveries throughout the city. Recently I got to help out by finding and printing violation codes for individual cases. I’ve learned how to create an affidavit, a service to motion, and a lot of technical law terms.

Tell us a little about your internship experience during Hurricane Sandy.
So, during the hurricane, Adam Leitman Bailey moved to 600 Madison. Getting to work [from Flatbush] took 3 hours and it took about 3.5 to get back. But I knew that there was a lot going on in the office, so they needed the help, and I didn’t want to leave them in the lurch.

What are your plans for college? Do you know what you want to study?
I’ve been accepted into University of Bridgeport and Alfred State College, and I’m also interested in Buffalo State College and St. Bonaventure. They all have computing and business programs.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself as an adult?
I want to do computer engineering. I’m actually building a website for Adam Leitman Bailey to enter into a competition. When I started interning, I only knew two HTML codes, but now I know a whole lot more. I also want to do photography and architecture in college. I’ve always wanted to design and build my own house.

What advice would you give to someone in high school who is thinking about taking an internship?
If you’re someone who is highly dedicated, and you’re positive that you’re a hard worker, then definitely go ahead and do it! Even if you have a packed schedule, you’ll find a way - just manage your time, do it, and stick with it.


Check it Out: College Line

NYC College Line is an excellent on-line resource for high school students and their families going through the process of researching and applying to colleges.  


College Line lets students find a nearby college counseling program, consult fellow students in an online forum, ask qualified advisors questions, and search up-to-date New York college information.  The service is available for no charge.


College Line was created by Graduate NYC! in collaboration with the City University of New York, the NYC Department of Education, and the Options Center of Goddard Riverside, 
For more info, visit http://nyccollegeline.org/.


And for more information about the Futures and Options College Guidance Program, contact Matt Ellis at mellis@futuresandoptions.org  



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