This Way Ahead Intern

Zion Ellis always wanted to work in retail, so when his high school guidance counselor told him about the This Way Ahead program, he knew it would be a great way to spend the summer before his senior year of high school. This Way Ahead is a paid internship program designed to provide young adults with an opportunity to gain skills and confidence in a competitive work environment. Made possible by the generous support of the Gap Foundation, the 10-week internship program provides youth with the training needed to enter the retail industry. Goodwill of North Georgia proudly partners with GAP, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta to provide free training, ultimately leading to a workforce that is top notch. Participants in the program are equipped with skills including sales support, shipment information, merchandise replenishment and store visuals.

Ellis applied immediately after learning about the program and was very happy to be selected for an internship. The opportunity was made even better because he was assigned to Banana Republic – the store he was hoping for! As Zion’s first job, he acquired skills beyond the retail environment. At the conclusion of the internship, he was offered a permanent position at Banana Republic. Even though his schedule was full of school activities, from marching band to golf, he was able to continue working at the store. Working hard and saving the money he earned, Ellis purchased his own car.

As high school ended, Zion accepted a band scholarship at Clark Atlanta University. This strategic decision would allow him to live at home and continue working at Banana Republic. Although he’s majoring in accounting, Zion enjoys fashion and hopes to find a way to continue working in the field after college.

Since completing the internship, Zion has been a great ambassador for the program and for Goodwill. To date, he has recruited five friends and he serves as a mentor for the interns placed at his store. His advice to prospective interns applies to us all, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There is always something you can learn.”