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Technology Internships For The Eastside Promise Zone

Michael Gray | http://bit.ly/2eRH5Zx

A federal contractor committed to funding 50 paid apprenticeships with their company largely in the federally designated Eastside Promise Zone Thursday.

Accenture is a national management and consulting company with a rapidly expanding tech footprint in San Antonio. The company has 1200 technology employees supporting their federal contracts. Accenture executive Ali Bokhari says the company has added more than 200 technology employees this year and plan to do that or more in 2018. 

It makes sense that they would want to improve the local workforce. Bokhari says the promise zone offered a unique opportunity to impact a community, "where poverty levels were exceeding 30 percent, where unemployment was over ten percent, where almost 29 percent of the adults do not have a high school education. We thought it was really important," he says.

Ideally Accenture wants people graduating from community college, but technology internships are open to anyone in the city, including youth. 

Bokhari says they started in April with St. Philip's College, the Eastside Education and Training Center, and Sam Houston High School. Now 31 people are or have completed the 12-week paid internships in one of three tracks: testing, application development, or network infrastructure. All working with Accenture at one of their facilities.

Just over half of the interns have lived within the promise zone. 

Three students from Sam Houston High School took part. Technology coordinator Ashlyn Barrientes says the partnership with Accenture is extremely valuable.

"This is so important for students," she says. "Nowadays our students need to be aware before they leave high school."

Accenture has plans to continue the program and will continue to connect with younger interns again, potentially engaging them in multiple internships, and giving them a path towards a career, says Bokhari.

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org