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Article: Learning by Doing: A Smart Investment for the Future
by Camille Madfes, Novato Business Education Roundtable
Appeared in the North Bay Multimedia Association's March, 1999 Multimedia Reporter

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Learning by Doing: A Smart Investment for the Future
by Camille Madfes

The multimedia industry is growing and innovating at a rapid pace. How do we ensure a steady supply of qualified and creative young people to fill our future workforce needs? One way is through strategic partnerships with our local education system.

The Marin County School to Career Partnership is a collaborative of schools, businesses, public agencies and community organizations working together to provide students with learning experiences they need to make wise college and career choices and thrive in a changing world. One unique initiative of the partnership is a recently established Multimedia Network (mmnet) that fosters productive relationships and supports the development of programs for students interested in multimedia.

To prepare for a possible future in multimedia, many Marin County students are taking a variety of classes to learn skills such as programming, graphic design, website production, and marketing. Armed with these newly acquired skills, a number of these students are ready to apply their knowledge to real work situations. To make that possible, the Marin School-to-Career Partnership and the mmnet need businesses to provide learning opportunities for students such as internships and similar career exploration activities.

Internships are structured opportunities for students to understand the relevance between classroom learning and the world of work, while participating as productive employees in a company or organization. These work-based learning opportunities allow students to explore areas of personal and career interest, to acquire the skills necessary to be successful employees, and to formulate goals and plans for their futures.

Businesses who have been involved in internships programs report many benefits to their companies. These returns on investment include reduced costs of recruiting and training, improved morale and leadership skills of employees working with these young people, and higher levels or productivity and visibility in the community.

Varying in length from several weeks to several months, internships can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a business and are fairly simple to implement. In fact, the Marin Partnership has a Multimedia Business & Education Liaison, Camille Madfes, who works directly with business partners to make internships meaningful and powerful for the employer, the school and the student. Camille helps to identify students whose skills and interests best match the needs of each employer and monitors the student during the course of their internship through regular contact with the employer, the student and the student's teacher.

To learn more about how your business might offer meaningful learning opportunities to students through internships, contact Camile Madfes at (415) 897-4201, ext. 235 or . NBMA members are also invited to attend a breakfast meeting with interested multimedia partners on March 24 at 7:30 AM. Information for that meeting can be found by contacting Camille, or Ralph Manak of the BaySCAN Multimedia Network at (415) 507-6233 or .