Students get the opportunity to learn and explore future careers, and even get jobs through this popular program.
As the new school year begins, many students begin to wonder what they should do after high school. Going to college is in the plans for many, but what should they study? How should they start? Those are all common questions that everyone has had at some point in their life, but what if there was a program that could help high schoolers prepare for their future and help them achieve their dreams and aspirations? There is. It’s the internship program in Weber School District and it allows students to further explore certain types of careers in a way that a school environment can’t. This program makes it so students can earn academic credit while gaining workplace experience during school hours.
Jeffery Meyer became the Work-Based Coordinator for the Weber School District 10 years ago and says that the very first semester they only had 35 interns. This last school semester they were up to 190 interns. Meyer stated that, “This program has grown into something beyond anything anyone could have imagined. It’s staggering, the sheer number of students getting these opportunities.” The success of this program is all because of the business partners it has gained over the years. The business partners have been willing to help these students by sharing the knowledge that they’ve learned in their industry. The program allows high school students to gain so much experience while they’re still in high school and it also helps them get jobs, scholarships, etc. “Almost daily I hear something special: a student accomplishment, they’ve gotten hired (which happens a lot), they get a scholarship, a promotion, but sometimes they find out this job just isn’t for them. What a valuable lesson for a high school senior to come away with!” said Meyer.
Take Zachary Thomas for example. Thomas interned with the Weber County Commission, Elections Department, and Surveyors Department in his senior year. During his two semesters interning he says he learned so many important and helpful skills that would assist him in furthering his career in politics. One of the things that he got to help with was to pass House Bill 281, which makes it possible for 17 year-olds to vote in the Primary Elections. Since his internship, Thomas has been elected Chairman of the Weber County Democratic Party. When asked how he liked his internship, Thomas replied, “My internship at the Weber Center was one of the best experiences of my life, and I highly recommend government internships.”
Thomas wasn’t the only one who absolutely loved his internship. When Kamryn Stevenson finished her internship, she said that it made her more excited and confident for the opportunities that lay ahead of her and her future business. Stevenson started interning at Masterpieces Images in January of 2017 and in June of the same year, she was actually hired as an employee. Masterpiece is owned by Ryan Hadley and is a photography and video production studio that specializes in weddings, portraits, and commercial photography and video. When she first started at Masterpiece Images, Stevenson was editing and finishing pictures, but now she is training to become a photographer and has even started to take pictures herself. In addition to her photography internship, Stevenson also began working toward getting her cosmetology license at the Ogden-Weber Technical College. She says that Masterpiece is now creating a salon space in the studio to offer clientele additional services like haircuts, makeup, styling, or even complete makeovers, which she’ll be conducting. Stevenson says, “This all started with an internship and a passion for photography. I am so thankful for Ryan Hadley and Masterpiece Images and their amazing internship program.” The goal is to have the salon up and running in early 2019, with these extra services to complement the photography business.
Another success story is Emmalee Larson. She began interning for Fred Henderson, the NUAHEC (Northern Utah Area Health Education Center) Project Director and Adjunct Instructor at Weber State University, in January of 2018. When Meyer first told her about this internship, Larson says she could have never imagined how much it would change her view of the future. She now runs the NUAHEC Pre Health Sciences Scholars Program at Weber State and is only a senior in high school. This program allows her to help other high school interns gain networking and experience they won’t find anywhere else. Larson says, “The best thing about my internship is that I get to help more students get amazing experiences that really prepare them for college and their future careers. I feel much more confident about going into the medical field because I have met so many people who have given me advice from their personal experience that I wouldn’t have gotten without this internship.”
Being thrown into the world right after finishing school is like being thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool when you have no idea how to swim. Where do you start? How do you start? How do you pursue the career you want? It’s terrifying to think about, but the internship program seems to help ease those worries and helps students gain the confidence that they need to help jump-start this next chapter of life.