Expeditors is offering to share a template and best practices for its Opportunity Knocks (OK) internship program aimed at 16 to 24-year-olds with no degree looking to start a career.
The program, launched in 2008, has so far helped 1,200 young people, with more than 500 gaining onsite internships or student work-studies before lockdown.
Over 90 have become long term employees and a further 800 have been helped virtually over the last 12 months.
The turnover rate of OK alumni in the first two years is five times lower than typical new hires. Internal surveys have shown that staff engagement has increased for 57 percent of staff involved in the program. Ninety percent of OK supervisors and mentors reported personal skill development.
“Opportunity, mentoring, and hard work changed my future,” said Jose Ubeda, senior vice-president digital solutions, Expeditors, and OK executive program sponsor.
“I started with Expeditors delivering documents across San Francisco when I was a teenager, and now, as a senior executive, this is a way to give back and provide young individuals with career opportunities.”
Expeditors has pledged to share both its template for the OK program and best practices with interested companies.
Since 2020, Expeditors has inspired more than 800 young people through OK with supply chain career case studies or computer and interview skills.
Lee is a graduate of the OK program. More than 10 years ago she joined the program after high school. College was too expensive and she did not know what she wanted to study.
After completing her six-month paid internship, she was offered a full-time position with Expeditors. Now she administers the system that supports learning for all employees across the company.
“My manager made a point of having regular 1:1 meetings with me to provide mentoring and understanding of the new role, and the importance of that role within the entire company,” she said.
“I have stayed with Expeditors because I like helping people figure things out; I want to help them trouble-shoot and that is what my department does.”
Program launched in 2008
The program provides paid internships for 16 to 24-year-olds with no degree and was launched in 2008 by Dan Wall, Expeditors president of global products, who was inspired by his own journey from entry level to executive.
Supervisors and mentors taking part have reported increased employee engagement in their teams and 97 percent said they would recommend involvement in the program.
“We are keen to share our experiences with other companies and demonstrate to them the many benefits of working with young people in this way, from the perspective of giving them opportunities, but also serving corporate social responsibility, talent pipeline, and employee engagement goals,” said Lenora Turner, director of the OK program.
“Mutual benefit programs result in the most sustainable efforts, and diverse teams really are more creative.
“Everyone wants loyal and engaged staff, and if you are willing to mentor people, they are much more likely to stay with your company.
“Those who offer opportunity and pass on the skills they have already obtained, gain a renewed sense of purpose by investing that skill into another, plus staff skills get stronger when shared.”
Companies interested in using the program should contact Lenora Turner at Lenora.email@example.com.