Article: Internships and California Intern Summer 2000
School-to-Career: Internships and California Intern Summer 2000
This is the sixth in a series of articles exploring ideas and practical applications in "school-to-career."
Summer is here and it's time for students and employers to enter the world of summer internships. You may have done at least one internship in your career. Was it a good experience for all involved? Internship stories reveal mixed reviews, from horror stories of vast boredom to success stories of amazing accomplishments. Too often, internships are loosely organized and lack supports for either student or employer. Local School-to-Career Partnerships, however, provide employers with access to well-structured programs and students who are prepared to function and learn in the work environment.
Internships give students the opportunity to become familiar with specific work environments while also helping them clarify career goals. A good internship can either further a student along a chosen path or move a student in another direction. In any case, direct experience in the workplace prepares students for productive careers. At the same time, academic connections in School-to-Career programs raise the value of continuing education for students. Internships, and STC in general, prepare students for the workplace and keep them in school-a powerful combination that connects workforce development and civic education.
One of the more valuable aspects of internships is that students learn first-hand about the crucial role of professional relationships and networks-both in just getting work done and in advancing or changing careers. With the notion of "career" looking more and more like a succession of projects, social connections, such as those afforded by the NBMA, are becoming increasingly more important. Perhaps the most striking feature of internships is that they help students learn to make and maintain professional relationships, which cannot be done in school alone.
The Marin and Sonomo County STC Partnerships offer employers excellent internship programs, and many students are skilled in multimedia-related software and Web-development software. Most interns are place by the end of June, with programs running for about six weeks. Here is some general program information (contact your local partnership for details or to arrange internships in August or Autumn; contact information is listed below):
The Marin County STC Partnership invites employers to host students for 6-week internships. In this program, students are enrolled in a skills course at College of Marin or with Marin County Office of Education's Regional Occupational Program. This internship-plus-course model leads to successful academic internships. The partnership provides the students with workplace preparation skills, and furnishes employers and students with learning plans. Expectations for the internship are made clear from the start, and liaisons are available for monitoring and assistance.
The Sonoma County STC Partnership turns what could be typical summer jobs into high-quality internships. The partnership provides a site coordinator who works with students 2 hours a week to teach a variety of job seeking and job retention skills. This coordinator also works with supervisors and students as needed to insure a valuable experience for all. In addition, the partnership places teachers in "fellowships" in a variety of businesses across the county. A workbased learning toolkit has been created for use by all stakeholders who work with students and teachers in the workplace.
Both Marin and Sonoma are participating in California Intern Summer, a statewide campaign to create thousands of internship opportunities for students and teachers. Through work-based learning, such as internships, students gain skills for success and school becomes more relevant. California Intern Summer is being promoted through a number of media outlets, including KPIX television in the Bay Area. School-to-Career segments are currently airing on Channel 5's Five O'clock News. If your company has a good STC story to share, please let BaySCAN know!
It takes employers, students, and teachers working together to build an effective STC system. The local STC partnerships have the tools to help employers get started; please contact them for more information. If you have your own ideas for getting involved, please contact Ralph Manak at the Bay Area School-to-Career Action Network (BaySCAN).
Yolanda Magdaleno, Marin County STC Partnership
Helen Ramstad, Sonoma County STC Partnership