“I got to experience life outside the classroom and I had the opportunity to transfer my knowledge from school into the workplace.” Before graduating from New Albany High School this year, Luke Dovell completed an internship with Lower.com as part of the JA Apprenticeship program.
“We always were interested in testing the high school waters to see if we could pick up good talent there,” said Dan Snyder, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Lower.com. “Instead of doing it on our own, we felt partnering with an education leader like Junior Achievement made a lot of sense.”
Lower.com is a financial technology company that offers home financing and insurance. Snyder and his team partnered with Junior Achievement of Central Ohio to create a robust experience for high schoolers like Dovell.
“The thought was to co-create an internship-for-hire program that not only provided high school seniors practical learning about real estate and financial services, but allowed for life skills to be developed in a professional setting,” said Snyder.
Students completed a curriculum that covered topics like real estate transactions, leveraging equity, and credit. Students received school credit and pay for their internship. They took on the roles of account manager, interacting with real customers.
Dovell was only two weeks into his internship at Lower.com, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Dovell not only had to learn the world of work, he suddenly had to learn the world of work-from-home.
“However,” he said, “this was not necessarily a bad thing because I quickly learned and adapted to the situation and I made the best out of every day … I got to experience life outside the classroom and transform my study skills and overall work ethic into the workplace.”
Snyder expressed that high schools and colleges not only fail to educate youth about mortgage financing and consumer finance principles, but they also do not portray their field as the lucrative career option that it is. Dovell, however, was very excited about the prospect.
“The global financial tech market is expected to increase by 25% through the year 2022, and I wanted to be a part of this rapidly developing industry,” Dovell said. In fall 2020, Dovell will begin studying accounting at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business with a minor in real estate.
Snyder shared his vision for the future of Lower.com’s JA Apprenticeship program. “Ultimately, we would love to hire high school graduates full time, provide them tuition money so they can attend college part-time, while working and building their career. Gaining knowledge, earning money, and not getting buried in debt. Seems like a winning combination.”