Getting a Head Start with This Way Ahead

Career advancement results from hard work, persistence, and often, a manager who advocates for your growth. Earlier this year, Juma kick-offed our partnership with Gap Inc.’s This Way Ahead program, Gap Inc.’s flagship life skills and paid internship program. After completing Juma’s job-readiness training, 30 youth started a 10-week summer internship in nine Gap Inc. stores (Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic) across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gap Inc. has seen profound success when interns and hiring managers have the chance to mingle and learn from each other prior to the internship. Putting this best practice to use, Juma hosted eight activities across the Bay where youth met Gap Inc. managers and learned from their experience. At the same time, Gap Inc. managers saw firsthand the potential Juma youth have to add value to their stores.

More than a dozen Gap Inc. employees volunteered 40 hours of their time to support the This Way Ahead program. Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy hosted career tours where youth could peek behind the scenes and imagine what it would be like to work there. Juma hosted career panels and mock interview workshops where Gap Inc. managers shared the scoop with Juma youth on the best strategies to wow a hiring manager.

By the time youth sat down for the real interview, they not only knew the hiring manager, they had already built a relationship with them, making the interview a near slam dunk.

Our goal is to help youth advance beyond an entry-level job towards a higher-wage, higher-skills career. Managers play an important role in helping their staff advance and grow professionally. We are seeing positive relationships emerge between interns and their manager after getting to know each other prior to the internship, and through ongoing professional development during the internship. We are enthusiastic about the potential for Gap Inc. managers to play a pivotal role in helping Juma youth advance to high-wage careers.