Conceived as a networking platform built to connect high school students with various local organizations and businesses to help them land internships as well as gain other valuable work-related experience. I met with co-founder, Myles Morgan, for a closer look into the aims and methods behind his organization.
“What incentives are there for business to want to bring in high-schoolers with little or no experience?” Such new hires would certainly be more accident prone and eat up an employer’s capital in order to be trained from the ground up, right? Myles was clear on the point that businesses become a part of Pro:Up on a voluntary basis – because they want to give these kids a leg up as their adult lives come careening toward them. Myles also commented on the growing disparity of skillsets in the labor market.
“Given the massive technical and soft skills gap in America, employers are providing these opportunities to high school students to develop talent earlier, feed their future talent pipelines, and increase brand recognitions to the next generation of employees.”
Regarding the demand for specific skillsets in the jobs market, namely those skills that don’t require a four-year degree to attain, Myles suggests that most schools in the area are not doing enough to promote alternative pathways. “We’re going to say something radical: College isn’t for everyone and it was never meant to be.” Myles stated, “While college has been the most promising tracks to economic security and mobility in the last few decades, the university pathway is losing its utility for many students in the 21st century. Experts attribute this to rising costs, and oversaturated market of degree holders, and inconsistent learning outcomes…But, because most high schools have laser-like focus on college admissions, they don’t invest nearly as much time in finding gainful alternative pathways and connecting their students. This is where Pro:Up helps. Students need not rely only on their schools or family networks to discover opportunities and pathways that fit them. They have a personalized feed of the perfect opportunities at their fingertips.”
Pro:Up is equipped with a number of tools and functions that allows members to customize their notification feeds to their desired positions and businesses, seamlessly inserting itself into the fiber of the daily digital digest teens today have already made routine. Myles’ draws a parallel between his platform and others. “Pro:Up is designed with high student engagement at the forefront. Existing opportunity boards cater to an older, more utilitarian demographic, people who may be interested in finding the right opportunity as quick as possible. Students have referred to Pro:Up as the ‘Instagram for Opportunities’.”
True to Pro:Up’s slogan, “Make moves, not excuses.”