By Candace Rivera
Developing next-generation leaders requires that high school students are career- and college- ready. The NAF Future Ready Lab (FRL or Lab) powered by KPMG is an innovative way to prepare students for their future. This summer, KPMG’s New York and St. Louis offices hosted a combined 44 interns in a lab-style internship. To provide meaningful opportunities to a diverse group of students the Labs requires that leaders from NAF, cities, school districts, KPMG and other businesses to work together.
These high school interns worked at KPMG offices, including KPMG’s Innovation Lab in SoHo, the Ignition Center in New York City, and at KPMG’s KTech center in St. Louis. They also worked at a few client and potential client locations in collaboration with the PhD Project and KPMG Campus Recruiting, the interns toured university campuses and interacted with diverse college professors.
NAF Future Ready Lab Interns in New York spent a day at KPMG’s Innovation Lab in SoHo. See how this unique experience helped these high school students #BeFutureReady.
Over the course of about a month, the FRL interns worked in project teams, solving real-world problems in business ethics, cyber security, and improving education.
In New York City, interns were introduced to Design Thinking techniques, which is a methodology used by KPMG's Innovation Labs. This technique challenged the interns to think outside of the box.
“In the [Lab], I was able to see that there are many solutions in the world, not just one solution for a problem.” said Jennifer Risa, New York intern.
Twenty-one KPMG employees mentored the interns in the Labs, helping the interns prepare for a return to their academic careers and contemplate the college application process. They also provided guidance on project solutions and final presentations.
Adam Manacher, a senior associate at the WeWork Innovation Lab, intends to keep the momentum going with his mentees. “I have made it clear to my mentees that when the internship is over, it doesn’t mean that the mentor relationship is over.”
Several KPMG partners and professionals also volunteered as subject matter experts, presenting to the interns on topics relevant to their project work. Thanks to the guidance of numerous mentors and guest presentations, the intern teams presented their final project solutions to a panel of KPMG and guest executive judges at the end of their internship.
NAF (formerly known as the National Academy Foundation) is a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure high school students are college, career, and future ready. As a result of a grant from the KPMG Foundation, and consistent with our commitment to lifelong learning, KPMG partners and employees are involved with NAF in nearly 20 U.S. markets providing a variety of work-based learning opportunities – from resume writing to traditional internships.
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