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 for entry level internship positions.
The Expeditors branch partners with local youth organizations that provide basic internship preparedness. The ideal partner provides candidates in a timely manner, and provides assistance with 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. Upon successfully completing a background check, interns work in a team environment.
Mentoring and Preparation for the Future
Interns gain professional experience through daily team interaction, 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 are encouraged.
Long-term employment with advancement potential is pursued for candidates that exceed expectations.
Since 2008 more than 90 have received long term positions. We have long term talent from Opportunity Knocks Youth with one to eleven years tenure in Seattle, Dallas, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Phoenix, Savannah, U.S.; Guadalajara, Mexico; Windsor, Canada; the UK; Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai, India.
“Roots don’t grow in a straight line.”
Most of us question what we want to do without awareness of what may be possible. We also often expect that our pathway will be straight. Rarely, if ever, is this the case. Providing career stories and industry awareness helps youth connect talent and learning to practical application, while discovering possibilities they may not have otherwise known to consider.
While many offices maintained financial support to their youth program partner during 2020-21, with interference of onsite internships, we pursued creative efforts to continue engagement with youth across the U.S. and beyond. This led to a focus on career, supply chain and logistics awareness. During the 2020-21 school year, Expeditors supplemented remote classroom instruction for 400 students across 15 cities in the Cristo Rey Network of schools, the broadest U.S. high school network for low income students, serving 95% people of color. Through hosting a guest interview series featuring executive leadership and other subject matter experts from across the company, guest speakers share their unique experiences and perspectives as well as expand on topics familiar to students to help strengthen the connection between classroom instruction and practical application.
During the 2020 program shift to expand remote outreach we impacted more than 700 students in the USA and India through 16 schools and five education or workforce development organizations.
Further, Expeditors was highlighted in the Cristo Rey Network 2020 annual report for adding a digital portal in 2019. A project led through Opportunity Knocks, this added a proactive approach to placing traditional job opportunity in front of diverse talent.
"Expeditors, one of our largest Corporate Partners employing students across 15 Cristo Rey schools, launched a jobs portal exclusively for Cristo Rey alumni at their offices nationwide." The portal congratulates alumni success, provides an overview of Expeditors and invites candidates to access real time job postings for positions available across the U.S.
For more than ten years Expeditors' employees have volunteered to support local schools and other youth programs around our network. Partnered with multiple youth organizations volunteering has included:
In 2019 our office in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam launched our Expeditors' Opportunity Knocks Youth program through their first program internship and volunteerism. Beyond the paid, developmental internship that addresses the skills gap and highlights Expeditors' motto "Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill," our program volunteers organized on-site visits, logistics awareness presentations and tours of our facilities. Our team also spent weeks preparing to provide presentation skills training thorough an interactive workshop. The results were inspiring growth opportunities with confidence building activities for everyone involved. All of this was in partnership with an organization focused on integrating and including youth that are victims of extreme poverty.
Volunteers from Expeditors Guatemala have reached out to their communities for multiple years to meet basic needs including providing cement bricks used for places to cook.
During 2020, with remote schooling challenges, four Expeditors locations have delivered weekly Excel skills training for high school students in Portland and Detroit.
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 University, 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 now retired. Having begun our sponsorships 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 Digital Solutions 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 is now the CEO and another Opportunity Knocks success 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. A 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 directs the program and scaling efforts; however, every local office involved determines their key players which are the critical pieces to local program success. Since 2008 we have provided 534 paid internship or work-study placements in 43 districts in seven countries.
Opportunity Knocks is a program that offers motivated young people an opportunity 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, results in lower turnover in those hired long term, and engages current employees in purposeful work.
"Opportunity Knocks has not only profited me with a career that I can benefit from, but also one that my company can benefit from. I have become a valuable member of my team and am excited to see how far I can go."
"I think Opportunity Knocks offers endless opportunities that bring hope to someone’s life. Being accepted into Opportunity Knocks is like winning the lottery! Growing up I always had this dream of working for a large corporation.…when I found out that I was accepted into the program I cried! Yes I cried, because part of me know that everything would be alright. I would be able to help my parents financially and that a dream is never impossible."
“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."
More than 350 employees have supported Opportunity Knocks for Youth as mentors, supervisors, coaches and administrative volunteers since 2008.
The following comments and statistics are from survey responses from managers, supervisors and mentors from 2019:
"I was surprised at how much value the interns bring."
"I had no idea what a big impact the experience would have..."
"The way it changed their lives for the positive and the pride I felt and feel in having helped in some small way."
Personal Growth of Staff
When asked if there was a significant memory from participating in Opportunity Knocks in the U.S., one comment was, "Everything has been significant. Don't underestimate the power of seeing someone develop within your team."
"I think it is just as much a learning experience for the trainer and branch contacts as it is for the Intern themselves."
“This program is a win-win. Expeditors is able to reach kids that would never have this opportunity without this program and they bring so much value to our organization.”
“I love Expeditors but now I jump out of bed because I am impacting a young life.”
"Our student owned the Green Team Monthly newsletter - with no direction she wrote it, and it was amazing! So good our staff was surprised that the student wrote it."
"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."
"Overall, just seeing the Opportunity Knock interns grow in their confidence and develop professional skills during their internship program is so rewarding."
More than 90 Opportunity Knocks interns have received long term employment. With program alumni in 13 cities, the stories are inspiring.
Rukmini was the first graduate from Avasar's Foundation Academy, an employability enhancement program funded under the Expeditors India Corporate Social Responsibility Program since 2015, who became an on-site intern under Opportunity Knocks. In every training session, her attention, dedication, discipline, and curiosity reflected attributes that Expeditors looks for in an employee. When the Opportunity Knocks program opened up in Expeditors’ Bangalore office, she was one of the first individuals considered. After completing six months as an intern, her ability to learn and positive attitude made her an ideal candidate for a full-time job. Within a year of starting at Expeditors, Rukmini received her first promotion and is now working as a Customer Service Agent in Ocean Import. We are excited for her future, with her hunger for growth and her dedication to achieve goals.
"'Ability is nothing without opportunity' is an adage behind the formation of the Avasar Foundation. In Rukmini’s case, it is a live example", said Anand Chaturvedi, who established The Avasar Foundation with the support of colleagues at Expeditors India. The Foundation regularly identifies candidates for the Opportunity Knocks program in India.
"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 have helped her discover was that she loved learning, and that she was good at helping others learn. Eleven years later, Lee still works at Expeditors. When asked why she has stayed, she explained, “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.
Arkisha began at Expeditors through Opportunity Knocks nearly five years ago. After completing her initial internship and earning an extension, she was offered a full-time position in Global Training Services at our Corporate Headquarters. Within a year and a half she was promoted and moved to air import operations at the Seattle office. Another year later she pursued a move to our office in Atlanta where she works currently.
These are some of her thoughts from when she began.
"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."
Cristo Rey Network 2020 Annual Report The Cristo Rey Network is 37 college preparatory high schools in 24 states with 12,300 students serving 98% students of color with $39,000 average family income and 20,600 graduates. With 61 university partners, Cristo Rey graduates are more than twice as likely to complete a bachelor's degree by age 24, compared to the total U.S. low-income population. Of 3,500 corporate partners, Expeditors was highlighted in the 2020 Annual Report: "Expeditors, one of our largest Corporate Partners employing students across 15 Cristo Rey schools, launched a jobs portal exclusively for Cristo Rey alumni at their offices nationwide." The portal congratulates alumni success, provides an overview of Expeditors and invites candidates to access real time job postings for positions available across the U.S. Though Covid-19 has hindered hiring in 2020, we're proud to have added this portal in 2019 to recognize hard work and to increase ways for placing opportunity in front of diverse talent.
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 Expeditors' 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, Digital Solutions
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.
For current program participation please contact your local office directly.
If your business is interested in starting an Opportunity Knocks program, 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 one opportunity youth per year, we would change the world. Starting small is much better than not starting at all."