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Education Opinion

Experiencing Success at Work: High School Internships

By Tom Vander Ark — January 05, 2015 6 min read
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Every student should graduate from high school having experienced success in several work settings (one of 10 vital experiences). There’s no better way to earn job skills
than on the job. Work-based learning experiences are a great way to narrow interests and focus future learning. As we noted in a paper on college and career guidance, most high
school students would benefit from more Internships and job shadows.

A recent survey indicated that 90% of surveyed companies agreed that high
school internship programs can help students get into better colleges, and 70% say students who complete their programs are either very or completely
likely to eventually land a college internship within their company.

Following is a summary of notable high school internship programs, and given growing interest in high paying manufacturing jobs, a sample of pathway and
internship programs in manufacturing.

High School Internship Programs. Kenton County School District (metro Cincinnati) high schools feature an
academy structure where students have the opportunity to attend a half-day program, potentially off their school campus. Superintendent Terri Cox-Cruey is a champion of a
senior year driven by a personalized learning plan and featuring college credit options, job shadows, project-based learning and internships.

Noblesville High School
(metro Indianapolis) principal Jeff Bryant said one-third of last year’s senior class earned school credit by serving in an internship during the school
day with a local business. Bill Stanczykiewicz, CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, reports that:

Students served their internship
either 90 minutes each day or for three hours every other day. While serving an internship, students took an online course teaching them about workplace
skills and the labor market while earning elective credit toward any of Indiana’s high school diploma types.

The Canton Connecticut Chamber of Commerce (metro Hartford) proposed an internship program for the
high school and school officials working closely with chamber members. Canton High School Assistant
Principal Eric Verner said a senior capstone project will be required of all students starting with the Class of 2019. He said the hope is to incorporate
internships into the senior project. Students from Avon High School will have to work 72 hours as part of their internship, keep a journal of their
activities and be ready to give a presentation on their job, said Liz Brisco, Internship Coordinator.

Darien High School
(metro Stamford Connecticut) internships are five weeks of work experience starting in May and running through the last day of classes. “I interned at
Facebook in New York City during my senior spring and it was without a doubt one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever had,” DHS grad and Tulane
freshman Isabelle Perticone said of her internship.
“To be a part of a real life operation and to see where the future could lead me was an eye-opening and exciting experience...I think every senior should
join the internship program, it is a choice they will not regret.”

Intern Livingston
, created by the Livingston Business and Education Alliance (central Michigan) is geared toward preparing students to become career-ready and was relaunched in December
. Tim Jackson, Livingston Educational Service Agency, hopes the initiative will help students make career
choices earlier.

The Iowa Student Internship Program provides financial support to
manufacturing and IT companies with a goal of transitioning the interns to full-time employment. Companies pay the high school graduate interns at least
twice the minimum wage.

Ohio Career Exploration Internship Program
offers at least 20 weeks and 200 hours of career exploration to students 16 to 18 years old or enrolled in Ohio high school grades 11 or 12. Businesses are
reimbursed for 50 percent of the intern’s wages.

The Education Cooperative
Internship Program (metro Boston) is a selective career exploration placement program supporting junior and senior high school students after school or
during the summer. Students pay $550 and may earn credit.

Northrop Grumman
began hiring high school interns in 2011. There
were about 800 students in paid internships last summer but more unpaid than paid interns at the high school level.

Tech Prep
is a summer internship with Boeing for high school juniors with a GPA of 2.5 or better who have their eye on a future in aerospace manufacturing.

has a paid intern program. TheSmithsonian Institution offers a variety of intern opportunities too.

Microsoft has a paid summer internship program.
Silicon Valley tech companies like Google hire interns but more frequently after they graduate from
high school.

Alex Murray, a high school intern at Stanford, reports that a few
high school students land summer internships in Stanford science labs. Johns Hopkins University labs
takes on more high school interns every year
including any junior or senior with good grades who can travel to the Laurel Maryland laboratory.

High school internships are becoming more common in Anne Arundel County Maryland in part because of magnet programs where they are required.

Manufacturing Career Pathways. Wheeling High School (metro Chicago)
offers an Advanced Manufacturing career pathway which enables students to explore the field of manufacturing and learn skills they can apply to a college
degree or go directly into the workforce upon graduation. Interns who complete this program can earn a metalworking and safety certification as well as a National Career Readiness Certificate.

Garland Independent School District
(metro Dallas) has six high schools that offer a coherent manufacturing course sequence. They encourage
students to join a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO).

Manufacturing Production Technology Academy
, Laguna Creek High Schools (metro Sacramento), offers a college preparatory curriculum with a manufacturing theme. Students gain access to intensive
internships, virtual apprenticeships, and school-based enterprises. MPTA is part ofConnectEd Network sponsored by the Irvine Foundation.

Platt Technical High School
is part of a Connecticut network of technical high schools that prepare students for postsecondary education, including apprenticeships, and immediate
productive employment. Students are assessed on National Institute for Metalworking Skills.

Eleva-Strum Central High School
in Western Wisconsin has a student run manufacturing shop, Cardinal Manufacturing with equipment donated
from MRS Machining. (See feature)

Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES
offers an Early College High School Program in Advanced Manufacturing. Students spend half a day at SUNY Adirondack’s Queensbury campus and the other half
at their high school.

For more on career pathways, see a Joyce and Irvine sponsored report for a useful
framework and success metrics.

Manufacturing Internships. GPS Education Partners operates 16 learning centers in eastern Wisconsin in partnership with
school districts and manufacturers. Juniors and seniors take high school classes in the morning and participate in manufacturing apprenticeships in the
afternoon. Most students graduate with a job certificate and a job offer.

BAE Systems
is partnering with secondary schools in southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts to offer paid manufacturing internships to local high school
seniors and juniors for 8 to 12 hours per week. Students explore various manufacturing career paths, gain marketable work skills, and earn academic credit.

Impact Northwest
coordinates Pathways to Manufacturing partnership with Franklin and Centennial high schools in Portland.

The Rotational Internship Program from the Manufacturing Institute (eastern Pennsylvania) is a partnership aimed at exposing high school and
college STEM students to manufacturing careers.

Dayton Region Manufacturers Association
developed a kit to assist members in establishing and implementing an internship program that integrates industry and education.

Washington State offers advice on manufacturing apprenticeships and lists opening by county.

For more, see:

The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.