Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) | November 25, 2022
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has launched a new internship program for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help bridge the opportunity gap for students of color—offering community development mentorship and experience that gives young people a leg up when entering the workforce. Over the next two years, LISC's National HBCU Talent Development program is placing 40 students in part-time intern positions with local LISC offices and other community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Interns will support a range of initiatives, from marketing to finance to community engagement, while also participating in leadership and national networking events. The program is funded by the Citi Foundation and is specifically designed to address national disparities in internships, with White students significantly more likely to gain paid versus unpaid positions than Black students. The LISC internship pays $25/hour up to $15,000 for the academic year. Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not," noted Denise Scott, LISC president, who held a virtual "fireside" chat with the initial cohort of interns last month. This program is part of our work to address systemic racial barriers that keep young people from gaining the experience and connections they need to compete for good jobs," she explained. "Through this program, students can earn a strong wage, gain hands-on experience, work with mentors and build a network of contacts and supporters all while supporting valuable community investment activity," she continued. "It's a win for all of us. At the outset, eight HBCUs are participating in the program, with young people from varied backgrounds and experiences applying to participate. Eryn Glover, for instance, is a sophomore marketing major at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte, N.C., and one of LISC's first HBCU interns. She is working with the staff at LISC Charlotte to support fundraising, social media and community outreach, helping extend LISC's engagement with the region's philanthropic leaders and supporting valuable collaborations with local partners. I've always known that I wanted to do nonprofit work and put my skills to work to help people," said Glover, a South Jersey native who has spent recent summer breaks working at community-based organizations. She chose JCSU for her education because she wanted to attend an HBCU, benefit from a smaller university, and be close to family that had moved to North Carolina. I feel like I have opportunities here, like the LISC internship, that offer the chance to really get to know professors and mentors, and to also make a difference. I want to work in marketing within the nonprofit space, so this internship really aligns with that," she said. In Washington, D.C., Howard University senior Marsi Hailu is interning with the LISC policy team. Her early projects include mapping gaps in broadband access especially in rural communities and researching the disproportionate impact of climate events on low-income communities of color.I already knew that there is a lack of intergenerational wealth in Black and Brown communities because of historical discrimination," she said of her initial research. "But I guess I didn't realize how much that intersects with geography. It's a lot easier to recover from a disaster if you aren't already living paycheck to paycheck," she added. Hailu, a finance major from Northern Virginia, hopes to pursue a graduate degree in urban development after graduation, with a concentration in affordable housing. She said the LISC internship offers the opportunity to try her hand at different aspects of community development, going well beyond what she might learn in her finance classes. In a lot of places, housing is at the root of inequality," she said, explaining her passion for the work. "As someone who grew up in the area, I see the disparities facing low-income folks. I want to do something about that," she said. In addition to Howard and JCSU, initial HBCU supporters of the program include Edward Waters University (Florida), LeMoyne-Owen College (Tennessee), Lincoln University (Pennsylvania), Morehouse College (Georgia), Simmons College (Kentucky), and Virginia State University (Virginia). Additional HBCUs will be referring students in the months to come. LISC's Scott said the universities are eager to help students identify new opportunities for advancement—particularly given that many of the schools already have existing relationships with LISC, collaborating on local efforts related housing and economic development.
"Here at Johnson C. Smith University, we strive to graduate global citizens who develop a compelling sense of social and civic responsibility for leadership and service,. "LISC's internship program is an excellent way for JCSU students to put this possibility into perspective outside of the classroom. Just as we strive to develop a better world by graduating the best and brightest, LISC does the same by investing in its community to make economic equality a reality," he said.
JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister
The National HBCU Talent Development program draws on the experience of LISC's nearly three decades of work with AmeriCorps, including the Economic Mobility Corps (EMC) launched in 2020. Through EMC, LISC places national service members in positions that help build the capacity of CDFIs. We have long seen the value in connecting people to community development positions in places that they know and care about," Scott said. "Our HBCU internship program takes that a step further, focusing on gaps in opportunity for students of color, injecting equity into CDFI recruitment efforts and building a community development workforce that reflects the people and places it serves.
LISC is one of the country's largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since our founding in 1979, LISC has invested $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 78.5 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances.
Optii Solutions | October 27, 2022
Optii Solutions, the leading cloud-based hotel operations software, announced today that it has launched a learning center with enhanced usability, improved search, and content designed for on-the-job learning. Almost every department and member of the operations team comes in contact with some aspect of Optii’s hotel operations platform. It was therefore important to ensure that educational content and accessibility works for a range of roles, cultures, and working environments. Optii’s Learning Center puts search at the forefront to allow users to access information quickly and on any device. Browsable content is organized to be user-centric and mirror common tasks and functions of any given role within a hotel operations team. Optii prioritizes recruitment from hospitality, and specifically housekeeping and operations. This ensures that the company maintains a close connection and understanding of all levels of hotel operations. While this knowledge is critical to creating a user-centric technology experience, it also serves to ensure that educational information is developed and presented in a quick and effective manner. Shelley Snyman, Director of Operations, Optii Solutions,“In developing learning content for our customers, I always start from a point of putting myself in their shoes. Many of the questions or challenges that operations and housekeeping professionals have, I have experienced at some point during my time in housekeeping. This knowledge helps me develop and structure training material in a way that will help team members get their answers, get back to their task, and be successful.”
“Customer success has always been a top priority for Optii. While critical, the impact of our solution goes beyond productivity gains, guest experience, and cost savings. Optii has become an indispensable tool for housekeeping and maintenance staff in their daily operation, and we are focused on ensuring their success. A lot of the value of Optii is downstream to that.”
Katherine Grass, CEO, Optii Solutions
About Optii Solutions
Optii Solutions is a hotel operations solution that leverages smarter technologies such as artificial intelligence, analytics, messaging and mobility to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of housekeeping and service delivery departments.
amazon | November 09, 2022
Amazon and Yousician, the world's leading music education service, are collaborating to help inspire the next generation of musicians. Beginning October 24th, consumers who purchase a qualifying musical instrument in Amazon stores will receive as an added gift-with-purchase, 30-days free access to Yousician Premium+, making it easy for any beginner to get started learning an instrument. Yousician has set a new standard in music education with its gamified approach to learning how to play an instrument. Its platform offers thousands of interactive guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, and singing lessons to quickly learn to play your favorite songs from hundreds of artists across all musical spectrums: from Coldplay and Adele to Billie Eilish, Metallica, and many more. Amazon, whose Amazon's Alexa Fund invested in Yousician's $28 million Series B fund in April 2021, is collaborating for the first time with Yousician to create this special bundle. Yousician always offers new users the option to receive a 7-day free subscription, but with this collaboration, they will receive 30-days free. This is the first time Yousician has collaborated with another company for a consumer product bundle.
Yousician's approach to music education uses innovative audio recognition technology that differentiates the platform from its competitors. The audio feature listens to the user play and provides real-time feedback. The gamified experience is that of an on-demand music school with world-class instructors at the helm to guide interactive learning for users at any level.
"Through our collaboration with Amazon, we make it very easy for people to begin their musical hobby. Get the instrument delivered to your home, download the Yousician app and start playing. It's that simple. Customers trust Amazon's seamless retail experience, and millions trust Yousician to learn how to play an instrument. We're looking forward to being able to offer Yousician to Amazon customers and help them kickstart their musical journey."
Chris Thür, Co-founder and CEO of Yousician
Yousician recently partnered with Metallica, the multi-Grammy Award-winning and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band, to create 3 beginner-friendly courses with step-by-step tutorials directly from the band so users could learn the songs the way they're meant to be played directly from the band themselves. Amazon customers will receive a special code with their qualifying instrument purchase that gives them 30-days free access on Yousician Premium+. Premium+ access on Yousician includes unlimited lessons and thousands of songs to learn from. No credit card is required to redeem the offer. The promotion will kick off October 24th and run in the United States for a 1 year period.
Yousician is the world's leading platform for learning and playing music, driven by the belief that the more people play music, the better this world will be. With a combined 20 million monthly users, the platform's groundbreaking products, Yousician and GuitarTuna, are the leaders in their field. Yousician has revolutionized how people learn and play music with innovative technology that gives players real-time feedback. It offers interactive learning for guitar, bass, ukulele, piano and singing with lessons, exercises and songs.