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Dr. Gary Damon, Jr.

Former NYS Senior Program Director at Center for Employment Opportunities

“Leah's productivity, attitude, and work ethic during her internship was astonishing. She is takes initiative and thinks outside of the box. She is very personable and integrated well into CEO's staff. “

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Bridget Niland

Director of Youth Sports Initiative at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

“Anxhela had a great summer at CFGB. We saw her move out of her comfort zone with seeking out public speaking opportunities. She was very professional.”

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Kate Schrum

Community Relations Specialist at BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York

“She did a fabulous job this summer. Sana has been offered an extension on her internship. Our department is thrilled she will be staying on board for another semester.”

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Kari Bonaro

Former Director of Communications and External Affairs at  Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

“Our Say Yes interns have been remarkable additions to our team. They have been smart, creative, hard working and collaborative, successfully tackling the tasks associated with the internship but also going above and beyond to have a more lasting impact on our team and Campus community.”

Who are Say Yes Scholars

Say Yes Buffalo Scholars are current college students who have graduated from Buffalo public and charter high schools after 2013 and also lived in the city of Buffalo during that time. While most scholars choose to remain in the WNY region and study locally, we have scholars studying throughout the country thanks to the more than 100 colleges and universities in our pact.

Economic & Racial Stats in WNY

According to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s 2018 Young Professionals Survey, 31% of young professionals do not see opportunities for career growth in our region. Furthermore, twenty-seven percent of all young professionals of color identified racial equity as the most critical issue facing our region.


The Say Yes Buffalo Internship and Career Pathways Program is a workforce development initiative that connects Say Yes scholars – current college students who are graduates of Buffalo Public and Charter Schools – with local employers through trainings, employer tours and site visits, job skills workshops and paid summer job experiences. Employers can use this program as a recruitment tool to diversify their workforce and create a talent pipeline.

Program History & Statistics

The Internship & Career Pathways Program was started in 2015 with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, who promoted the opportunity to their membership and encouraged area businesses to provide internships. Say Yes marketed the program to students and along with BNP, provided presentations and skills workshops for scholars. Over the first two years, 30 students were placed in total, however, many positions went unfilled. Two lessons were learned - more resources were needed to support students and the internships needed to align with students’ majors and interests.


In 2018, Say Yes received funding from Citi Foundation to hire two full-time staff members to focus on student and employer outreach, which greatly expanded the program. Forty-three employers offered over eighty positions to Say Yes Scholars – current college students who are graduates of Buffalo public and charter schools – and fifteen employers were new partners to the program. Five interns were hired in the legal community and opportunities were expanded in the field of hospitality and tourism.

Fifty-one students were hired for summer and fall paid internships and of those scholars, five were offered a permanent position or an extension of their internship. Prior to the beginning of their internships, students attended a full-day professional skills seminar staffed by volunteers from Citi and Remedy Staffing.


Eighteen workshops and events were held on local college campuses and throughout the community, of which 145 students attended. In October, the first annual career exploration fair was hosted at Rich Products which featured sixteen employers, free professional headshots, on-site resume review, and speed mock interviewing.

True Cost of Providing an Internship

$12.50 an hour + 14% in Payroll Taxes =



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