Accenture Partners with Boys & Girls Clubs to Ignite the Unlimited Potential of Metro Atlanta’s Future Workforce
By Jerel Causey | Managing Director, Accenture | Board Member, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta
I grew up in small country towns in eastern North Carolina without many of the comforts I now try not to take for granted while living in the big city of Atlanta. My parents were the first in their families to go to college; and to get there, my dad had to hitchhike. They moved many times and worked tirelessly to create a better world and open opportunities for my brother and me. I am very lucky to have parents who were able to “break the cycle” and feel strongly that every child deserves an equal opportunity in life. Unfortunately, that is not yet a reality, and many children have a far worse starting point and have far greater challenges to overcome than I had.
I decided many years ago that I would focus my “community service” efforts on supporting underserved youth, and quickly it became clear that Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA) was the organization I needed to be associated with to maximize my impact. For more than 80 years, BGCMA has ignited the unlimited potential of kids and teens by creating safe, inclusive, and engaging environments at out-of-school Clubs across 11 metro Atlanta counties.
Since joining BGCMA’s Board of Directors in 2014, I have served on the Executive Committee and chaired the Impact Committee, which helps to ensure we are maximizing our impact on the kids & teens we serve. It’s exactly the right place for me, as I feel privileged to work alongside talented and passionate BGCMA staff who support our youth every day and drive the awesome results for which BGCMA has become known. As a board member, I am one of nearly 50 people responsible for providing strategic leadership, ensuring financial stability, serving as ambassadors for the organization, supporting & supervising the CEO, and ensuring healthy governance. One of the many ways I fulfill my board commitments is through building partnerships within my personal network.
Leveraging Partnerships to Help Prepare Metro Atlanta Youth for the Workforce
I have the privilege of working as a managing director at Accenture, one of the world’s leading companies—not just from a size and revenue perspective, but based on Accenture’s unwavering commitment to diversity, sustainability, and generally making the world a better place. Accenture has over 700,000 employees and puts a significant focus on developing the workforce of the future as part of a broader purpose to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity. That aligns nicely with BGCMA’s College & Career Readiness (CCR) goal to ensure all Club members are college ready, work ready and life ready. That is, equipped with the tools they need to succeed in life upon graduating high school and leaving the proverbial Blue Doors of the Boys & Girls Club with a solid plan for their futures, whether that means attending a four or two-year college, learning a trade, joining the military, or entering immediately into the workforce.
This intersection of objectives and purpose between BGCMA and Accenture has made it easy to identify ways for Accenture to support BGCMA across a wide range of strategic, operational and volunteer initiatives and activities over the years. Some of the more strategic initiatives include supporting the development of BGCMA’s RISE 2025 5-year strategic plan, developing a technology strategy and roadmap for the organization and providing a CIO-on-loan to begin to pivot the organization from technology simply being an infrastructural enabler to becoming a strategic asset for the organization and the youth we serve. From a volunteering perspective, Accenture has supported the teen tech camp, hired dozens of summer interns, served as Youth of the Year mentors, refurbished individual Clubs, organized soccer jamborees, taught yoga classes, led brain game exercises and many more.
Accenture’s operational support ranges from providing pro-bono resources to help create BGCMA’s workforce development and internship programs to making a portion of Accenture’s broad training library available to BGMCA’s youth so they can learn about different industries and careers.
“My internship with Accenture was very life changing and eye opening,” said Ibrahima Gueye, an alumnus of the Joseph B. Whitehead Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta. “As an intern, I gained hands-on experience not only in tech but all of the fields complementing corporate tech. One experience was attending a corporate meeting with the executive of Coca-Cola. It was one of my favorite experiences and now serves as a goal to someday be an executive at a fortune 500 company.”
Gueye says working with Accenture’s internal creative and storytelling agency helped foster his creative side and develop skills applicable to his current studies and future career goals.
“Throughout my summers interning, I gained a lot of skills and sharpened some that I already had,” said Gueye, who interned in 2019 and 2020 and is now majoring in computer science at Kennesaw State University. “Graphic design was by far my favorite skill to develop with Accenture and learning how impactful visuals are in corporate was very impactful on how I present anything now. Public speaking was another big thing I learned from my internship. Projecting my ideas with confidence was emphasized a lot and now is something I do when I’m presenting my ideas.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, Accenture’s partnership has shifted but has never wavered. In the summers of 2020 and 2021, we collectively welcomed nearly two dozen interns in our virtual workforce program. This summer, we’ll have 5 in-person interns in our local office.
In addition to supporting the Clubs and the youth we serve, I’ve seen firsthand how Accenture employees get a huge personal lift out of their engagements with BGCMA kids & teens, making our partnership a true win-win.
A Call to Action: Local Businesses are Needed to Help Prepare & Grow our Future Workforce
I am honored to work with hundreds of other volunteer leaders who give generously of their time, talent and resources to support BGCMA’s mission. We positively impact thousands of youth each year in Atlanta who need us most, but there are so many more youth who need our support.
BGCMA recently held its 2nd annual Topgolf Fundraiser: Driving Great Futures event, which raised more than $250,000 in support of our teen workforce readiness initiatives. Proceeds directly benefit programs for teens such as free access to ACT/SAT preparation, workshops on resume building and interviewing, and experiences like career exploration tours, college and technical school visits, and paid summer work experiences. Countless local companies have served as sponsors for this fundraiser since its implementation. BGCMA relies on the continuous support of community partnerships to help sustain the great work the organization does for youth in our community.
We all need balance in our lives, and we all have passions. If we can focus the energy of the amazing people and corporations in Atlanta on the most pressing issues our city faces, we can make a huge impact. Think about what your passion is and get involved in a material way with a non-profit focused in that area. Then get your company and co-workers involved and see what a difference you can make and see how much better balance you will have in your life.
If your company is interested in partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta in workforce readiness initiatives, please contact Dr. Anna Jones, senior director of College & Career Readiness programs at email@example.com, or Kyle Walcott, senior director of institutional giving at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
I caught a lucky break early in my life and feel every child deserves an equal opportunity. I made it my “volunteer calling” to positively impact that situation as much as possible. What is your calling?
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