The program faces unique challenges this year as many companies continue to work from home. As a result, both remote and on-site internships will be available, Richardson ISD announced in a May 12 news release.
“These internships are so extraordinarily important and powerful because they foster strong relationships and give students hand-on experiences that give them an edge when they leave high school,” Superintendent Jeannie Stone said in a May 11 video about the program.
The program provides an eight-week, paid internship to rising seniors. Participants work 20-40 hours a week at a local business, nonprofit or government agency and are paid a minimum of $10 per hour, according to the program’s website. The initiative launched in 2018 as a partnership between the city of Richardson, Richardson ISD and the Richardson Chamber of Commerce.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this program,” Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker said in the video. “Every time I meet one of these students, they have just amazing stories to tell. And every time I talk to one of our employers, they tell me they’ve actually learned more than they think the students have.”
The internships allow students to work in career fields they are interested in as well as mentorship by industry experts, said Sari McCoy, Richardson ISD executive director of Career & Technical Education.
“There is no better opportunity for students to really learn than to dive in and get that kind of hands-on experience,” she said.
Currently, 70 students are eligible to participate; however, only 15 businesses have signed up to offer 23 internships, McCoy said.
The district encourages businesses to join the program, even if its operations are still remote, McCoy said. The program is mutually beneficial for businesses and students, she said.
“If there is a project that the organization is working on or a challenge that they're trying to develop a solution for, those students have the ability to join in and collaborate in that effort,” she said.
Additionally, businesses are able to impact students by giving them their first work experience, McCoy said.
“They get to learn how to contribute to society ... and how to earn money,” McCoy said.
Businesses can learn more about becoming involved here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.