Our goal at Pivotal is to help our students thrive – in life, school and work. We want to give them all the tools they need to become self-sufficient and that includes helping them find the career of their dreams. Pivotal’s Summer Internship Program is one way we help them along their path to success. Interns get real-world experience in the career they’re interested in and build the professional contacts that can help them as they prepare for the competitive job market. Studies show that the only former foster youth who earn wages near the national average at age 24 are those who had a job while in the foster care system.  

This summer, we had over 40 rock-star scholars working at companies across the Bay Area. From graphic design to accounting, entertainment to politics, our students are learning and growing in all sorts of industries and positions. 

“Marketing is something I have always been interested in but never got the chance to work on. This internship excites me because I get to explore and develop my skills,” says Victor P., who is working at HP as a marketing intern. “HP has also given me the opportunity to be part of projects and events that aren't marketing related so I can expand my knowledge and grow more.” Victor has been helping with the planning and development of a Racial Equality Task Force at HP in addition to his marketing and project planning duties.   

Nemi N. was a graphic design intern at Good Stuff Partners this summer. “My internship aligned with my studies 100%. Everything I worked on in my internship, I'll use in my classes,” says Nemi. “Pivotal was engaged with me through the whole experience. I never felt alone, and there was always someone I could contact to help me out.”  

This was also the first year that we organized the Pivotal Resource Council (PRC), a group of local business professionals who came together to support the internship program. They shared their networks, made introductions, and helped open doors for our scholars. Thanks to their hustle and commitment to foster youth, we more than doubled the number of internships compared to last season. The PRC found internship opportunities with businesses across a range of industries, from non-profits like Kings County Action Organization and the Bill Wilson Center, to leading-edge tech companies like Spatial and Afero. 

“Pivotal was the missing connection that I needed to take my networking skills to the next level,” says Theresa G., who is interning as a Community Brand Management Leader with technology company AllyRight. “I’m excited about this job because of the priceless skills I’m learning from the very best.” 

Tom Fandre, Pivotal’s Senior Business Development Manager, manages the relationships with internship hosts and connects them with our students. “It’s been great to work with an even wider array of organizations this year who can provide our scholars with amazing access and professional opportunities,” says Tom, “From new partners like AllyRight, who took on three interns, to long-term supporters like the City of Saratoga who support us time and time again, we’re grateful to every company that  sees the value of helping these young people and the foster youth cause overall.” 

NortonLifeLock is another returning internship host and one of the all-star companies that stepped up to host internships – despite the challenges of COVID-19. “We were pleased to welcome Theresa, who joined Norton LifeLock as an intern at the end of June 2021,” said Kara Jordan of Norton LifeLock, “Theresa brings previous leadership experience and a sincere interest in learning about People & Culture (Human Resources). She was strongly recommended to us by Pivotal and we’re already seeing her skill set contribute to our organization. Pivotal has been a great partner and we’re thrilled to help foster youth realize their professional goals.  Theresa is working on several project teams to give her great operational insight while allowing her to meet many people from the organization. It’s been a great summer so far!” 

Some Pivotal scholars were looking for the chance to give back to their community. We collaborated with several local non-profits to help students who wanted to support social causes that are important to them. Behavioral health treatment provider, Uplift Family Services is one of these sister agencies. Uplift has been a Pivotal internship partner for the past three years and hosted five Pivotal scholars this summer, putting them to work on a range of tasks tailored to their areas of interest, from project management to clinical work. 

“Seeing the joy these interns get by working at our agency is an incredible feeling. It’s so enjoyable for us to experience these college youth who have incredible stories and have demonstrated strong resilience. They are the type of people we hope to hire in the future,” said Don Taylor, Regional Executive Director of Uplift Family Services. 

Child Advocates of Silicon Valley was another nonprofit that hosted interns this year. Marketing intern Jacob P. used his skills to help them with branding and graphic design  and created this cool animation as part of his work! “The support I received from Pivotal has been a step above any other employment opportunity I've had so far,” he said. “I'd be excited to continue working with both Pivotal and Child Advocates in the future.” 

These internship experiences can be truly life-changing for our Pivotal scholars. Marlon S. did such an amazing job with marketing firm PrXDigital this summer that his story made the front page of the Mercury News! And year-after-year, successful Pivotal internships translate into full time jobs and we are one step closer to helping our scholars build happy, stable and successful lives. You can learn more about our summer internship program here or reach out to our Senior Business Development Manager Tom Fandre directly (tom.fandre@pivotalnow.org).