Cruise FutureWorks: A Social Impact Program to Support Students and Jobseekers

Amanda Lenaghan
Published in
4 min readNov 16, 2020


Two Cruise employees work on the self-driving sensors on a Cruise self-driving vehicle.

At Cruise, we are working with communities to build a new kind of transportation that better serves people and the cities they live in. Our mission is to challenge the status quo — transportation that is too polluting, inaccessible, and inequitable. However, we recognize that tackling these challenges will bring about changes. By working with the communities we aim to serve at every step along the way, we are committed to ensuring that the positive benefits of our technology help improve life for everyone.

As we continue to make progress towards our vision, we recognize the heightened urgency and increased need facing many today. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed anew the deep inequities in our society and has disproportionately impacted our most vulnerable communities, creating mounting crises from food insecurity to economic instability. In April, Cruise began working with local partners in San Francisco to deliver groceries and meals to households across the city who need it most. Now, Cruise has also launched FutureWorks, our social impact program focused on increasing economic mobility by directly supporting students and jobseekers.

We recently hosted our inaugural FutureWorks Week, an annual program that seeks to equip individuals facing barriers to employment with the skills and social capital needed to gain meaningful employment. Together with our incredible event partners — JVS, Tech SF, DevMission, Code Tenderloin, Humanmade, MEDA, and Upwardly Global — we brought together over 200 community members and Cruise employees through a series of virtual volunteer and educational events to support local job seekers.

The program focused on connecting motivated individuals from historically underrepresented populations in tech and underserved communities with opportunity — through mock interviews, LinkedIn review exercises, group networking, and more.

Career Workshops with TechSF & Humanmade

Throughout the week, Cruise co-hosted workshops with TechSF, an initiative of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development providing education, training and employment assistance to both job seekers and employers in the local tech sector, and Humanmade, a workforce development nonprofit focused on advanced manufacturing that Cruise proudly supports as a seed funder. Workshops focused on learning about new career pathways, building confidence through mock interviews, and expanding networks. Participants reported tangible benefits including:

87% and 76% of workshop participants felt more confident telling their career story and more equipped to secure a job.

One participant, Mohamed, had not interviewed for 25 years, and was unsure of how to tackle a virtual interview during a career transition. “Jamie [from Cruise] was very kind. She made me feel comfortable. The experience built my self confidence…she helped me understand who I am and that I have a place out there.”

Fontaine landed her dream job after training with Humanmade and shared how a well-timed exercise like mock interviews can truly help build confidence. “The opportunity to participate in Cruise’s mock interview session was pivotal in my career path. I can’t express the confidence this experience gave me.”

Krysti Specht, Workforce Programs Lead at San Francisco’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development, reflected on how our jointly hosted program built community through inclusion, career development, and networking: “For the first time during this pandemic, I felt an overwhelming sense of community.”

Educational Conversation: Driving Communities Forward

To close the week, Cruise convened leaders from across sectors to share new data, research and stories that illuminate how deeply COVID-19 has impacted Bay Area residents. Leaders from YCD, Humanmade, JVS, Tipping Point, LinkedIn, and San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development came together to exchange ideas and identify tangible solutions, recognizing our collective economic recovery and long-term success require collaboration and prioritizing the economic mobility of those most vulnerable in our community.

Check out this video for highlights from our conversation and this recap, which includes resources to get involved.

As we look ahead to the future, we recognize the opportunity we have to empower local students and workers as they pursue the careers of tomorrow, especially in emerging technology and transportation. While this was our first FutureWorks Week, the relationships, partnerships, and shared commitment will continue to play a critical role in our mission to drive change.

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