By Mary Knight | Communications Specialist, CareerWise USA
Gabrielle first learned about the CareerWise Colorado youth apprentice program through her position as student president of Jeffco Student Voice, a district-wide initiative working to elevate high school students from diverse backgrounds by collaborating with school district leadership.
“It looked like such an amazing opportunity, I knew I wanted to learn more,” she said. After talking more with her high school advisor, Gabrielle decided to apply for an apprenticeship.
In February of 2021, she was hired by McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm working with companies in industries such as technology, aerospace and healthcare.
As a business operations apprentice, Gabrielle’s day-to-day responsibilities involve coordinating employee events, assisting with various diversity initiatives and the company’s “Green Team.”
“I’ve worked on a lot of projects, but leading McKinsey’s Day of Pink has been my favorite so far,” said Gabrielle. Day of Pink is an international day celebrating diversity and the LGBTQ+ community and raising awareness against homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination. Gabrielle is working to plan the social activities, staff training and external fundraiser that are all a part of the day’s events.
Since starting her apprenticeship, Gabrielle graduated high school and is now in her first-year at Regis University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
“Being a part of McKinsey and Company has been great for me; my supervisors and everyone on the team is so kind and flexible which has allowed me to pursue college while doing really valuable work,” said Gabrielle.
Gabrielle notes that she’s seen growth in her communication skills, and used them in her apprenticeship to establish a professional network. Even just one year into the program, she feels more comfortable communicating in a team environment and confident in sharing her ideas.
“Being able to communicate effectively and efficiently as the youngest person at the company is a good feeling,” she said.
Gabrielle is excited about the possibility of transitioning to a full-time role at McKinsey or pursuing other professional avenues after her apprenticeship. Regardless of where she lands, Gabrielle feels secure knowing she already has real-world work experience and a professional network to lean on as she navigates her career.
“Having a CareerWise apprenticeship on your resume is incredibly valuable as the apprenticeship program prepares you to transition into a full-time, high-growth position,” said Gabrielle.
Had she not done the CareerWise apprenticeship program, Gabrielle says she would most likely still be in college but working multiple part-time jobs–jobs that may not be aligned with her interests or her career– to support the financial investment of higher education.
“My position with McKinsey is very flexible and I’m able to work remotely, making it easy for me to manage my time and the financial commitment of going to college,” said Gabrielle.
As the first youth apprentice McKinsey and Company has hired, Gabrielle is excited to continue learning and leveling up the contributions she’s making to the team over the next two years of her apprenticeship. She wants to ensure she paves the best path for the apprentices who come after her by exceeding her supervisor’s expectations.
Gabrielle sees youth apprenticeship as an opportunity that could open doors to modern, knowledge economy careers for a lot of students. “I feel very grateful to Careerwise for providing these opportunities for me and other young people,” says Gabrielle. “And I’m excited to pave the way for future apprentices at McKinsey and Company.”