The High School Internship: How-to

To follow up on the previous post, this blog entry will focus on how to get an internship. For some schools, internship experiences are integrated into the curriculum. For example, at MC2 STEM High School, students are expected to have at least one internship experience before graduation.

Every year, nearly half of the school’s 10-12th grade students participate in internships; by graduation, approximately 25-35 percent of the students have done multiple internships.

So what is the key to this success?

One of the driving factors of the school’s career track is MC2’s partnership with Youth Opportunity Unlimited (YOU), a Northeast Ohio workforce development organization for teenagers. By highlighting internship opportunities and connecting students to employers, the organization has done a fantastic job at exposing teenagers to potential job experiences.

But what if your school doesn’t have any career programs? Finding an internship will be trickier, but it’s still certainly possible. One of the biggest obstacles to obtaining high school internships is not a lack of networking or company connections; rather, students just don’t know where to look.

Across the blaring “Help Wanted” ads and “Apply Now” posters on a bulletin board, you can imagine that the words “High School Interns Needed” are a rare sight. Despite a lack of representation, these opportunities are out there. According to Christopher Myles, Manager of Employer Relations at YOU, high school internships are on the rise.

From radio stations to industrial firms, from veterinary clinics to landscaping; the variety of learning opportunities are endless. Imagine how such experiences would stand out in college applications and job interviews.

The best course of action for an intern-to-be is to ask and apply. STEM high school or not, students are sure to gain from acting upon the initiative to learn.

Click on these links for listings of pre-college internships and employment programs.

— Phoebe Low

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