Jun 30, 2014 by

Barnstable Patriot Article
Written by: David Augustinho
June 2014

The Cape & Islands School to Careers Partnership, an activity of the Cape & Islands Workforce Investment Board, completed the year by placing more than 430 high school juniors and seniors in internships. Some 336 local employers provided placements this year. More significantly local employers paid more than $840,000 in wages to 173 students, who earned between $8.00 and $15.00 per hour.

Over the last 18 years the School to Careers Partnership (STCP) has grown to serve students in high schools across the Cape and Islands. The STCP is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The program is also referred to as connecting activities. The goal is to help prepare students for success after high school, weather they are heading to college or into the workforce.

In the program students have the opportunity to learn what it means to be an employee, develop confidence, and learn job skills. One student recently reflected, “I learned that this business (landscape construction) is all about people pleasing and keeping people happy. You must be quick at problem solving, because some type of problem is always bound to happen. I also learned that the economy plays an extremely important role in this industry. I not only learned a lot about the business but a lot about myself because of this internship. I’ve learned to overcome the stereotype that I can’t do or know as much about this business just because I’m a female in a male-dominated industry. But I can operate heavy machinery just as well, if not better, than most of them. I may be petite but I can still lift and carry 70-pound bags of concrete mix.

Students find that their internship experience changed their attitude and helped them mature into young adults. At Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School an 18 year old senior assisted with administering CPR during a ride-along with the Yarmouth Police while another earned three bylines with the Cape Cod Baseball League, acceptance into a journalism program, and a summer job with the League.

The benefit to students is the opportunity to advance in the world of work. Mashpee High School’s School to Careers Coordinator, Carol Riley, wrote, “This year ten students interned for 125 hours each in the fields of criminal justice, landscape construction, health care administration, equine management, nursing, elder care, social work, and automotive repair. At the end of the program, one student gained full-time employment at her internship location, two other students will work part-time for their employers, and another two students have agreed to “drop in and help out” as necessary…which means 50% of our interns have a true head start on their careers!”

The program has helped students discern whether their career choice is the correct one. A Mashpee senior wrote, “My experience with STC has changed my future plans; I learned that I don’t want to be a biomedical engineering major, although I was pretty sure that was what I wanted to do when I started my internship. My internship changed my major to biochemistry—a biology related field—with a pre-veterinarian track. I still love the sciences, but I now know I want to work with animals.” A Chatham senior reflected on his internship at the Harwich Police Department: “The Community Internship Program has only confirmed my career choice and given me valuable insight on things I need to accomplish in order to become a law enforcement agent.”

I want to congratulate each of our School To Careers coordinators in our 11 partner districts; they make the program run, helping Cape and Island students to experience the world of work, gain confidence in their abilities, and earn some money.

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