The Homestretch Summer Internship Program started at Homestead.com in Menlo Park as a pilot program in the summer of 2000. Homestead's desire was to create a program that reached out to East Palo Alto high school juniors and seniors who demonstrated desire to succeed in life. The focus was on creating meaningful work experiences in a professional, high tech environment for young people in Homestead's immediate community.
In our pilot run of the Homestretch Program, we hired 7 high school students for a 6-week program, and incorporated roughly 40 volunteers from within the company. All 7 graduated successfully and left the program with practical technical skills, summer pay, a scholarship for use toward higher education, and a computer to continue their use of technology in school and beyond. The total cost to the company was less than $30,000.
Our secondary objective was to produce an easily replicable program for companies with similar goals of helping young people down the "home stretch" of a critical juncture in their lives. It is our hope that every graduate of the Homestretch programs will choose to continue their education, become actively involved in their communities as responsible citizens, and that they will find greater access to career opportunities in high tech. It is our further hope that after reading this document companies will be convinced that whether they are 20 employees or 2,000 employees, they can create the same meaningful work experience for another young person in their community.
This report highlights 4 key topics: descriptions of all program participants; the process of getting the program started; descriptions of all program components; and our thoughts on the future of the Homestretch Program. Within each of these topics we discuss our thought process in creating the various components and provide a list of "key findings" in our experience with each topic. Finally, we include various appendix items both in the hardcopy of the report as well as on this site, which includes: workshop materials and sample workshop timeline, a sample program timeline, and a list of community resource contacts who are Homestretch supporters.