Clark County high school juniors and seniors are vying for nearly 60 local summer internships.
The Greater Springfield ConnectED Internship Program links high schoolers with local businesses. The program is intended to show students the opportunities available in the county, Hobbs said.
It began five years ago and has grown every year, said Kim Fish, Springfield City School District director of communications.
This year nearly 80 students from Clark County school districts will compete for internships with local businesses, Fish said.
Students from Springfield City, Clark-Shawnee, Springfield-Clark CTC and Southeastern schools, Global Impact STEM Academy and Greenon schools are participating in the program, she said.
The students met at The Greater Springfield ConnectED Center on Thursday to talk with HR representatives from local companies. Students received advice on their resumes and interview skills.
About 90 students applied in January, she said, and representatives from the schools reviewed each application.
“We’re creating a pipeline. A future workforce here in Clark County,” said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development at the Chamber of Greater Springfield.
“Clark County is a viable place for them to live and raise their families and work and be productive members of society,” he said.
Students can get internships in several different fields.
“From traditional manufacturing to professional services,” Hobbs said, “to medical and health care.”
Students who’ve participated in the program said they feel like they have an advantage now.
“I will have this stepping stone that other people have not had,” Shawnee High School senior Zachary Graham said.
Graham worked as an intern at a local credit union last summer.
“I learned how the credit union functions,” he said. “I got to work with great members, and I learned a lot of life experiences that’ll help me through the rest of my process.”
Graham was the youngest person to ever work at the credit union, he said, and recently started working there part-time again.
“It was little awkward at first,” he said. “But it…turned out they were great people and it was a great experience.”
Elisha Bostick is a representative with Eby-Brown who volunteered to help students on Thursday.
“In just a few short months,” she said. “They’re gonna be out in that work field, and employers really want good, strong employees that want to work.”
Not all students will get internships, Hobbs said, but none involved in the program will walk away empty handed.
“They also walk away with certificates,” he said, “certificates that are portable and can be applied to their resumes.”
Every student in the program will earn a Work Keys certificate that guarantees work readiness. They’ll also receive customer service training and an OSHA 10 certification.
Interviews for internships will be conducted in April or May, Fish said.