Economic Opportunity

Skills First Internships

Skills First Internships

The Skills First Internship is a program that works to provide equitable access to quality internships for college students of color and students from non-traditional backgrounds. Through Skills First, the Chamber hopes to encourage organizations to rethink hiring strategies and lead in the creation of a diverse workforce that is more reflective of our region.

Skills First offers employers a skill-based, identity-blind hiring platform that reduces hiring bias by substituting the request for a traditional resume with a standardized application that puts the focus solely on the skills an applicant brings to the table, instead of a focus on where they acquired those skills.

Through Skills First , the GBCC worked with dozens of pipeline partners such as college career services offices and college access and success organizations - like UMass Boston, Bottom Line and the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology – to funnel students to these internship postings. These partnerships produced a diverse and qualified pipeline of applicants: our pipeline partners were the referral source of 40 percent of all open applications.

History

From January to May 2019, the GBCC recruited seven Boston-based companies to participate in a pilot of Skills First Internships. Those early adopters include:

  • Allen & Gerritsen
  • Alexion Pharmaceuticals
  • Arnold Worldwide
  • John Hancock
  • Suffolk Construction
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Wayfair

During the pilot period, 13 internships were posted, 189 applications were submitted, and five interns were hired through the program.

In addition to corporate partners, the GBCC works with dozens of pipeline partners such as college career services offices and college access and success organizations to make students aware of these internship opportunities. During the pilot phase, these partnerships produced a diverse and qualified pipeline of applicants: our pipeline partners were the referral source of 40 percent of all open applications.

With the official launch of Skills First, the GBCC is now opening up the hiring platform to both member and non-member organizations throughout Greater Boston. In addition to providing the technology solution, the GBCC will be focused on supporting both corporate partners and pipeline partners in the growth of identity-blind hiring practices and programs designed to achieve the goal of equity and economic opportunity for all. 

To learn more and join the Skills First Internships movement contact Casey Baines, Economic Growth Manager