The mission of Enterprise for High School Students is to engage and empower San Francisco Bay Area high school students to discover career opportunities and cultivate their individual interests through training, guidance, and employment experiences in a diverse and supportive learning environment.

Enterprise for High School Students was founded in 1969 by Gladys Thacher, a non-profit visionary and champion of young people, who also helped found the San Francisco Education Fund, San Francisco Village, and Lifeprint, formerly Alumnae Resources/Lifeplan Center. Since then, EHSS has evolved from helping a handful of students find summer jobs into an integrated group of programs that combine job-readiness training with experiential learning. More than 20,000 San Francisco teenagers, including youth from almost every public and private high school in San Francisco, have learned the skills and values essential to workplace success at EHSS.

EHSS programs provide students with the ability and opportunity to find and retain jobs, explore career opportunities through internships and job shadowing, get career and college counseling, and develop life skills crucial for their transition from high school to adult life. EHSS also operates one of San Francisco's largest job banks focused exclusively on high school students.

Learning in a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment, Enterprise for High School Students' members gain more than valuable skills and training. They acquire confidence. They build trusting relationships with supportive adult counselors. They serve as role models to their peers. And, they realize the world is truly open to them through education, work, and career.

Summer Gardening Program participants beautifying
Buena Vista Park in 1982.

Many of us who are adults today learned the skills required in the workplace - how to be diligent, accountable, and responsible - through part-time work in high school. But the reality is that jobs where young people can learn these skills and values are not as available now. Too many students are missing those formative experiences.

The beauty of EHSS is that we teach young people the value of work and the skills to be a great employee in a supportive workshop setting. We then give them the opportunity to put those lessons into practice in the workplace. It's this combination of practical training and experiential learning that enables our programs to have such a powerful impact on our students' lives.