You all know what The Internship Initiative is committed to doing: providing a standardized platform to bring internship opportunities to high school students everywhere. But you might not be aware of how and why our organization came to be.

In the early months of 2018, the founders of TII—Joe Zhang and Oscar Hong—were looking for summer internship opportunities on their own time, for they wanted to gain professional experience, and an internship seemed to be the best place to search. Unfortunately, both of them faced great difficulty in securing the opportunities they wanted; they were faced by a number of problematic obstacles preventing them from accessing higher opportunities. Where most students would have been deterred and disappointed by these setbacks, Joe and Oscar were struck by motivation and inspiration.

In the process for seeking high school internships, they observed three crucial flaws in the application process for students like themselves.

The first, most importantly, was a substantial lack of opportunities for high school students. Students, they noticed, would often have incredibly long odds and scarce opportunities when trying to find internships. Companies weren’t providing a ton of opportunities, and if they did, students would rarely know about them. How was a high school student with no prior professional experience supposed to try and land an internship if they didn’t even know where to begin looking?

Second, Oscar and Joe found that of the few available internships they could learn about, almost none were tailored to the necessary development of professional growth in high school students. More often than not, companies were offering positions to college and graduate students with years of knowledge and experience through advanced level courses. There was no way a high school student could land an internship if he didn’t already have what he was looking for: greater knowledge and experience.

And finally, the pair observed that opportunities for students were further limited by a lack of connections. More often than not, if you ask a student how they got an internship, the answer will lie in some variation of having a connection to some company or business. Without it, most kids are rendered helpless on their internship search, because simply don’t have the same opportunities as those with connections.

The founders observed these flaws in the internship process, and they helped conceive of an idea: one that would serve to help eliminate all three problems while delivering high school students with growth-furthering experience. Thus, The Internship Initiative, LLC was born.