Upkey Opens Summer Virtual Internship Program to 10,000 Applicants, Offering College Credits and Access to Global Network of Industry Leaders and Mentors

Free Program Helps Underserved Students Build Professional Skills, Connections and Confidence

Upkey, a Chicago startup that offers students free online career readiness tools, announced its summer Virtual Internship Program (VIP), which runs July 5 through Aug. 27 is now open to applicants through June 20. 10,000 spots are available in the 8-week program, a 7X increase over past sessions that reflects the high demand for VIP curriculum and resources that until now have only been available to students in elite educational institutions.

Upkey’s VIP connects students with top leaders and companies through groundbreaking online learning, projects and internships. Students get real-world experience at companies including Apple, Google, UBS, Guardian Life and McKinsey & Company while building their professional network, and companies gain access to a diverse pipeline of talent and potential, unlimited by location or time zone.

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To-date, more than 5,000 students from 70+ countries have completed Upkey’s VIP curriculum and achieved outstanding results. 100% of VIP graduates qualified for 3 college credits and 96% said they loved their Upkey experience and referred others. Meanwhile, the average VIP graduate expanded their professional network by 400% (50 to 200) within six weeks or less, with 70% saying they now have the social and/or professional network required to achieve their career goals.

Students cite communication (77%), collaboration (71%), social skills (60%), creativity (58%) and critical thinking (57%) as the top five areas where they have achieved the greatest improvement in skills.

“As the class of 2021 approaches graduation, millions of students will face one of the toughest job markets in decades,” said Amir Badr, CEO of Upkey who was recently named to the Forbes Next 1000 list of entrepreneurs redefining the American dream. “Upkey’s edtech tools give students the flexibility to learn new career skills without being restricted by location or availability of resources. This benefits students, educators and recruiters alike — representing a crucial role in creating jobs for future generations.”

Only 3 out of 10 incoming freshmen seeking a 4-year degree will graduate in 5 years or less and land a job that requires a degree in their field. Given that almost 25 million undergraduates attend college each year, it’s easy to see that this is an issue on a grand scale.

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Upkey’s VIP offers an introduction to the managerial functions of leadership, finance, marketing and entrepreneurship with emphasis on building the 12 abilities students need to succeed in today’s workforce. The program leverages Upkey’s on-demand skill-building platform with AI-powered gamification that makes it scalable and easy for students to create resumes, build elevator pitches, and develop their personal brand. Curriculum modules include:

  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Content Writing and Media
  • Consulting and Strategic Analysis
  • Technology and Product Management
  • Business Leadership
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Finance and Accounting

Upkey’s VIP partners range from universities to private enterprises, including: BaylorConcordia University Chicago, DePaulIllinois Institute of TechnologyLoyolaMITPurdueRoosevelt UniversitySouthern New Hampshire UniversitySt XavierStanford, UCF, UCLA and University of Illinois at Chicago; as well as Allstate, Apple, Exelon, Google, Guardian Life, McKinsey & Co. and UBS.

“This is a great program and product built to launch students’ efforts for their eventual career transition. We’re working especially hard to support needs of first gen students early in their college career and Upkey is a high value tool to help us do so,” said Tim Luzader, Executive Director, Career Success, Purdue University.

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