When was the last time you participated in something that truly mattered? Call to mind one time you gave of yourself, not out of obligation or necessity, but simply because you cared. Have you thought of something? Good. Now think about how that made you feel. If you’re anything like me, you walked away from that experience feeling like you made a positive difference in the life of someone else, and that felt incredible. How long did those feelings last? A day? A week? A month? Most people consider volunteering as a way to offer immediate aid to someone in need. Anyone who volunteers on a regular basis, such as local consulting firm, Accenture, knows donations of time and talent make a larger impact on the community they serve. Let’s learn more about their discovery of work-based learning volunteer opportunities.
Shannon Gilbertson, Corporate Citizenship Leader for Milwaukee at Accenture, was looking for non-profits with precisely that mindset when she began fostering a relationship with GPS Education Partners in 2015. GPS Education Partners (GPSEd) is a non-profit organization that harnesses the power of work-based learning to act as an advocate for students of all backgrounds, helping them develop both technical and professional skills necessary to succeed beyond graduation. “When we started our relationship years ago, I was looking for non-profit partners that advanced our Skills to Succeed focus… GPS Education Partners caught my attention because Milwaukee has a heavy manufacturing sector, and [our] analysis predicted a significant skills gap in the not so distant future. Also, studies have proven the work-based learning model to be an effective method for helping underserved students struggling in traditional learning environments”, Gilbertson says.
Over the past five years, Accenture has taken an active role in partnering with GPSEd. Every spring, Accenture employees work with GPSEd seniors to assist with mock interviews, as well as resume coaching and proofreading. Their efforts help prepare students for what to expect upon high school graduation and joining the workforce. This has been a great example of how volunteering at local schools with more hands-on efforts can be effective and businesses can see the direct impact they can make.
Accenture’s donations of time and talent foster tremendous growth in GPSEd students, but they cannot carry the weight of assisting the next generation workforce alone. GPSEd is in search of volunteers, people like you, who have the ability to make an impact in the life of a struggling student today. Your donation of time and talent will extend far beyond the time spent in donation. The lessons our students learn from mentors, skills coaches, and volunteers help them achieve a high school diploma, but more importantly, develop life skills that will aid in their success for years to come.