Skills for the 21st Century

Helping High School Grads Secure Middle-Skill Jobs and Build Careers

Daniel Jones faced many challenges growing up – his mother passed away when he was in high school. And, when he moved to a new school, he had a seven-mile walk home.

“One day during my senior year, I was about to start walking home when I noticed a white bus parked in front of the middle school next door,” Daniel said. “It went to the Boys & Girls Club, which was located only a mile away from my house.”

Daniel was originally only looking for a ride home, but he quickly began to enjoy his time at the Boys & Girls Club. It wasn’t long before a counselor at the Club recommended him for Capital One’s Catapult program - a 5-week paid internship for opportunity youth identified by nonprofit partners as not employed to their full potential. Throughout the Catapult program, interns participate in programming focused on professional training, financial education and workplace mentoring. The internship concludes with an interview process for open call center positions.

Through the internship, Daniel participated in classes focused on resume writing, interview preparation, networking, budgeting, time management and customer service. He received a support structure of mentors to help guide him on his journey.

Daniel benefitted from the professional skills he obtained through the internship and made a personal connection with one of the leaders. “Jonathan Bennett, Catapult program facilitator, made a huge impression on me,” Daniel shared. “Not only did he make me a great associate, but he made me a better man – morally, ethically and professionally.”

Today Daniel works full-time as a Senior Fraud Intake Coordinator at Capital One. With the skills he learned from Catapult, including personal budgeting, he earned a driver’s license, secured insurance and saved $2,000 to purchase his first car.

“In the future, I’d like to open a chain of restaurants inside major hospital systems,” Daniel said. “When my mom was sick, I remember her and my grandmother always complaining about the hospital food. What we eat can nurture our health and what we put into our bodies matters.”

In addition to his role at Capital One, Daniel also works at a local restaurant where he has learned about catering, overhead and profit. He’s completed some coursework towards a degree in business administration and would like to double major in health administration.

At the one-year anniversary celebration of Catapult, Paul Townsend, Managing Vice President of Card Partnerships at Capital One and executive sponsor of the program, spoke to graduates and recently hired associates. “There are four things that dictate success. You must be smart; hard working; effective; and invested in doing the right thing.”

“You took the same test to get a job at Capital One that everyone else did,” he reminded them. “You are smart and you belong here.”

Daniel Jones used the skills he learned in Capital One’s Catapult program to secure a full-time job at Capital One.

Middle-skill jobs in high demand

Middle-skill jobs are in higher demand than any other jobs on the market, according to a nationwide analysis by Burning Glass Technologies. A bachelor’s degree is not typically required for these positions and they pay above the national living wage. Capital One created the Catapult program to help high school graduates secure these middle-skill jobs and build meaningful careers. It is part of Capital One’s Future Edge initiative designed to help more people succeed in the digital economy.

Over the past year, interns have participated in the Catapult program in small groups of six or seven at a time. Currently, 20 graduates are using the confidence and competencies they learned from the internship as full-time associates at Capital One.