Opportunity Knocks offers paid Internships for Opportunity Youth to increase confidence, skills and
job readiness with potential for long-term careers.
Inspired by the experiences of nearly half of our executives who started their careers at Expeditors in
entry level positions right out of high school, Expeditors founded Opportunity Knocks in 2008 to
keep professional opportunity open to those who can use it most.
For a downloadable pdf, called “Opportunity Knocks in a Box” go to Getting Involved.
Opportunity Knocks is an integral part of our social responsibility program and aligns with our motto "Hire for attitude, train for skill". It rose out of our company culture of unlimited opportunity and provides real benefits for the individual, our business and our communities.
We believe that each of us can make a difference by simply investing the knowledge and professionalism we have, into others. Because success happens one step at a time, Opportunity Knocks helps a young person rise through an internship where they gain little deposits of knowledge that can add up to career success. Often they rise to a better place, one step at a time.
A Two Way Street
Opportunity Knocks keeps the door open to those in need and the young person has opportunity to make the most of it. We are proud to contribute to the success of our youth and delighted to be part of truly positive solutions. The benefits section below reviews the surprising number of positive individual and business outcomes that create shared value.
Skill and Confidence Building Internships
The Expeditors branch determines a paid, part-time term of service, (typically 6 months); allowing consideration for long term employment. The internship pursues basic skills development, providing a real work job description for entry level internship positions.
The Expeditors branch partners with local youth organizations that provide basic internship preparedness. The ideal partner provides interview candidates in a timely manner, including resume creation support, interview practice, professionalism and customer service principles training.
Interview and Onboarding Experience
Candidates are interviewed and offered feedback, to provide a professional experience and to build confidence, regardless of the interview outcome. Selected interns undergo a background check, work in a team environment with expectations and supported development goals.
Mentoring and Preparation for the Future
Interns gain professional experience through daily team interaction, weekly performance feedback, practical development opportunities and professional success tips. Training is available in customer service, communication and industry training through mentoring and internal courses. Tips on resume building and further development are also available.
Long-term employment with advancement potential is pursued for candidates that exceed expectations.
The Opportunity Knocks program is Expeditors’ internal umbrella program for all of our work with youth internships and organizations. It was founded by Dan Wall, an executive at Expeditors. This program has a rich history rooted in our culture of “hire for attitude, train for skill” and promotion from within.
Dan Wall, President of Global Products, was an average student in high school. In his words, "you can’t get any more average than I was." Dan didn't have the finances or interest to attend college. His post-high school graduation plan was to follow in his father's footsteps and become a truck driver. Being too young to become a truck driver, Dan pursued a position at Expeditors. Tim Barber, current Executive Vice President of Europe, was willing to give him an opportunity as a runner at Expeditors.
Shortly thereafter, Dan was promoted to an office position. His first months in this role exemplified the culture of the company, which still shines through to this day. The VP of Information Services at the time and others mentored Dan, teaching him the basics of the industry and of business etiquette. With a strong culture of promoting from within, Dan rose in leadership through hard work. Eventually, he had the opportunity to get his college degree from Seattle U, as advocated by Tim Barber and former CEO Peter Rose. Dan’s capstone project for his degree eventually turned into Opportunity Knocks, which is modeled after his own experience starting at Expeditors in 1987.
While Opportunity Knocks has worked with over 20 non-profit organizations and schools since 2008 to receive interns, an important part of the program’s history and growth is through partnership with the Cristo Rey Network of Schools. The partnership was started by Phil Coughlin, Chief Strategy Officer at Expeditors. Having begun in Boston, Expeditors now partners with Cristo Rey in 16 cities across the US. Through this partnership, high school students gain entry level skills, professional experience and financial support for a college preparatory education.
Opportunity Knocks enjoys excellent executive support and is championed by another Opportunity Knocks story. Jose Ubeda's story is another example of the principles of Opportunity Knocks. Jose is the Senior Vice President of Global Air and the Executive Champion of Opportunity Knocks. He started at Expeditors in San Francisco at seventeen years old, along with Jeff Musser, who was sixteen years old and now the CEO and another Opportunity Knocks story. "I was given what turned out to be a profound opportunity as a young man and that is what we're offering through our program." says Jose, "It is engaging to be a part of the success of young people and it's smart on the business side as well. Logistics work is requiring an increase in technical skills and critical thinking. I proactive approach to a skilled talent pipeline is a clear win."
Lenora Turner, Director of Opportunity Knocks, has a background in training, personnel development and non-profit work. She has supported the program from the start. Turner now directs the program and scaling efforts, however, every local office involved finds its own key players and is critical to local program success. Since 2008 we have provided 448 paid internship or work-study placements in 40 districts in six countries.
Opportunity Knocks is a program that will give motivated young people a shot with a Fortune 500 company. At Expeditors, we know that there are hard-working individuals that would jump at the opportunity to work in a professional environment - they just need to be given the chance.
Opportunity Knocks for Youth meets social responsibility, talent pipeline, and employee engagement goals. It is a shared value program benefiting the intern, mentoring employee, business and community.
Opportunity Knocks Youth meets entry level talent needs, reveals lower turnover in those hired long term, and engages current employees in purposeful work.
“I think this is the best program I have ever heard of. They should become part of the program because it could change a lot of people's lives like it changed mine."
”I used to only think about the present, now I think about the future and know there are options out there for me.”
“I refer to the program as a ‘stepping stone to success.’ I used to be more of a follower, but now I see myself as a leader.”
“I’ve learned a lot here like responsibility, timing, and communication with people. My experience has prepared me better, for my future.”
“I’ve matured. I’ve gone from boy, to young man. I’m more professional; it has affected my overall outlook on life.”
"I think it is just as much a learning experience for the trainer and branch contacts as it is for the Intern themselves."
"Our intern was so shy and quiet when she arrived. Now she loves joking with the team and even covers the front desk and phones during our receptionist's lunch break! Its been incredible seeing her gain so much confidence!"
"I have a better bedside manner for my whole team due to becoming a better communicator for my Opportunity Knocks intern."
"A student was moving out of state and wouldn't be able to return. On his last day, he walked around the entire office and shook everyone's hands and thanked them (tear jerker)."
"Overall, just seeing the Opportunity Knock interns grow in their confidence and develop professional skills during their internship program is so rewarding."
"These programs – under the philosophy of 'opportunity knocks' are so much fun. It gives our employees a chance to be compassionate - and that supports the important part of one's job being meaningful -which is one of the basic elements of people being inspired by their company."
"When I started the Opportunity Knocks program, I wasn't thinking this was going to be my career. I just wanted to see - is this something I might like? But I found my career, and with this career, I'm able to live a better life."
When Lee graduated from high school, she needed to find a job. College was too expensive and she didn't know what she wanted to study. Soon she felt like she was drifting. Encouraged to apply to the Opportunity Knocks program, to her delight, she was offered a six-month paid internship. To her surprise, everyone was kind and supportive. Lee’s manager made a point of having regular 1:1 meetings with her to provide mentoring and to help her understand her new role, and the importance of her role to the entire company.
Lee credits her colleagues for helping her navigate the new experience of working in an office environment and for showing her that she could move from an internship to a full-time job. But she says the most important things they helped her discover was that she loved learning, and that she was good at helping others learn. Seven years later, Lee still works at Expeditors. When asked why she has stayed, she explains, "I like helping people figure things out. If they have issues, I tend to want to help them trouble shoot – and that is what my department does." Lee is now administrating the system that supports learning for all employees across the organization. If you ask Lee, she'll tell you that she didn’t just find a job. She found purpose in helping others learn, just as her colleagues helped her. Lee's name has been changed to protect her privacy.
Arkisha started at Expeditors through Opportunity Knocks over a year ago. She became a full-time employee in Global Training Services at our Corporate Headquarters and has recently been promoted to air import operations.
"I was so nervous I was literally trembling during the interview. Now that I've been here over a year, I think Opportunity Knocks and the company itself is amazing. I’ve never heard of another company that does this where you actually feel a part of the real work environment. The on-the-job training was really great, having the support and people to ask questions of. People took the time to help and didn’t make me feel like I was bothering them. It is a team environment. The support system is very strong."
Cargo Network Services (CNS) Air Cargo FOCUS Magazine is a quarterly print and digital publication dedicated to communicate the latest and most pertinent news to the air cargo industry. The publication is currently distributed worldwide to over 13,000 air cargo industry readers. Today the FOCUS readership is comprised of cargo airlines, freight forwarders, customs brokers, ground handlers, service and solution providers, third party logistics, IT companies, truckers, shippers and airport authorities. The profile of Expeditors' Opportunity Knocks program is featured on pages 12 & 14 in the Fall 2017 issue of CNS Air Cargo Focus. Visit the CNS website for the fall edition of Air Cargo Focus magazine.
Harvard Business School, Accenture and Grads of Life Report titled: Dismissed by Degrees
Harvard Business School, Grads of Life and Accenture partner to provide a report on how degree inflation is causing missed opportunities and costing companies money. Due to our culture of "Hire for Attitude and Train for Skill" and our focus on promoting from within, Expeditors is featured as a smart example to follow under "A CALL TO ACTION FOR CEOS", page 32.
Airforwarders Association FORWARD magazine
Published quarterly by E&M Consulting, Inc. exclusively for members of the Airforwarders Association, FORWARD magazine delivers in-depth coverage of government affairs, member news, regulatory information, and updates on the air cargo industry. See the article titled "The Power and Purpose of Logistics Can Keep Millennial Talent", Winter 2018
"With Opportunity Knocks, Expeditors has created a best-in-class program that provides valuable professional experiences to underserved young adults while producing concrete business benefits for the company. One of the secrets to their success has been the company's genuine commitment to developing talent right from the entry level - a practice that has produced numerous members of their senior leadership team."
Senior Vice President, Global Air
Executive Champion, Opportunity Knocks
Director, Opportunity Knocks
Third Party non-governmental organizations (NGO) are the primary way that candidates are received for interview and into the Opportunity Knocks internship program. Those interested in providing program candidates can contact us here.
Program internships have been active in the Expeditors locations shown. For local program participation please contact your local office directly.
If your business is interested in starting the Opportunity Knocks program within your company please fill out the form below to download Opportunity Knocks in a Box, a program playbook to get you started.
"If every business invested into at least one opportunity youth each year, we could change the world. Starting small is much better than not starting at all."