The Need

Education and access to career development opportunities have recently become a larger focus for improving social and economic mobility of young people from underserved and underrepresented communities. Low-income students face several barriers for economic development, where only 1 in 10 low-income families have a bachelor’s degree by age 25. Internships significantly increase the likelihood of a student receiving a job offer upon college graduation, due to the expansion of their social network, professional experience, and developed skill set. Despite the importance of work experience, many internships are unpaid which perpetuates inequalities as these opportunities are out of reach and detrimental for students of low-income backgrounds. Although unpaid internships have value, the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that unpaid internships don’t give college students much of an advantage, but rather students who had paid internships were twice as likely to secure a job. For young people of color, low-income, or first generation college students, connections to paid internships are harder to secure without social capital. First Workings is built upon the realization that opportunities for career advancement are strongly rooted in income and quality of education, demographics that are out of our young people’s control. First Workings’ mission is to improve our student’s social capital through paid internships, which eliminates the barrier that may prevent them from succeeding in such opportunities.

1 in 10 people from low-income communities earn a bachelor’s degree by age 25
Interns who were paid had a 72% chance of receiving a job offer, compared to 44% of interns who were unpaid. Surprisingly, this is comparable to not having any internship experience at all, these young people were 34% likely to receive a job offer.


Our Young People

The students we work with come from underserved communities in New York City, including Harlem and the Bronx. Our relationships with our School Partnerships ensure that we accept students who are extremely high-achieving, motivated, and willing to take on new challenges. Read about some of our interns First Workings experiences on our Success Stories page.

Important Outcomes

Our Results
100% of First Workings Alumni attend college, compared to 46% of low-income students nationally
11% of our Alumni attend Ivy League Colleges and Universities, compared to .4% nationally, 27.5 times the national rate
All of our interns report that they would recommend First Workings to others
55% of our Alumni are accepted into America’s Most Competitive Colleges (Barron’s List)
91% of our 2017 Internship Partners reported that they were likely to remain in contact with their intern to offer advice or a letter of reference in the future


Our Interns reported gaining:
Communication skills
A sense of responsibility
Organizational skills
Time management skills


Meet Jade

“The best part of my internship was making lasting connections with people at the company and getting a first...

Meet Osman

“I was sincerely honored to have worked with First Workings this summer. The best part of my internship was...

Meet Emily

“The best part of the internship was that the people at Hart Pictures encouraged me to strive and complete...

Our Colleges