In their first year in a Career & Technical Education (CTE) program, students learn many skills relating to their career field, whether it is changing oil and rotating tires in Automotive Technologies, proper knife skills in Culinary Arts, or how to operate a dump truck in Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance. They may have already achieved professional certifications such as the private pilot’s license in Aviation or received their OSHA card in Construction, Building Trades, HVAC or Welding.
All the academic preparation and training experience obtained through their programs are meant to be taken from the classroom and brought into the workforce. This is where work-based learning (WBL) internships become the next important learning phase.
For students to further improve their skills, and especially their confidence, in applying their classroom training to a “real-world” situation, seniors participate in internships related to their career field. Students from both the CTE and Career Studies programs participate. Area employers, many who also serve on our Consultant Committees related to their professions, open their doors to provide on-the-job expertise and mentoring to students.
“The WBL internship program can be an incredible opportunity for students. It often reinforces a student’s commitment to their chosen field, gives them an authentic chance to meet professionals in their industry, while offering an awareness of potential job openings and in some cases, apprentice opportunities after graduation,” says CGEC Work-Based Learning Coordinator Joan Rogers.
Some of the businesses providing internship opportunities over the past several years have included: Peckham Industries, Kinderhook Toyota, Ginsberg’s, Herringtons, NAPA Auto Parts, a wide variety of local beauty salons, auto shops, and many local law enforcement agencies.
Joseph Windermuth of Peckham industries agrees – and sees value in the program not only for students, but for businesses as well.
“The program gives us, as a local employer, an opportunity to make Questar III aware of our industry/employment needs, work one-on-one with students who are eager to learn, and basically allows us to find potential new employees.”
Partnerships like these are integral to the success of CTE programs – and to the success of our students.
“We are fortunate to have so many local employers who are willing to work with our students, and we have received a good deal of positive feedback on the students’ training and work ethics. Some of our students have even been offered future employment as a result of their work-based learning experience,” says Rogers.