Internship program pilots futures

Business leaders and educators around the country are putting new emphasis on ensuring “college and career readiness” for America’s high school graduates.

College and career-ready graduates possess the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and to meet current and anticipated workplace demands.

College and career readiness requires a paradigm shift in the way school systems think about educating students for the future. Shelby County is meeting that challenge through its launching of My Future — a systematic approach to preparing graduates for life after high school.

As a part of this initiative, two high schools are piloting a new student job internship program called RDY2WRK. Shelby County’s Career and Technical Education department has partnered with the Greater and South Shelby County Chambers of Commerce and the Shelby County Economic and Industrial Authority to design a series of nine-week internships that began October 10.

These placements will allow seniors at Calera and Chelsea High schools opportunities for real-world career experiences in businesses around the county. More than 15 business and industry partners are mentoring students, and we hope the numbers will grow.

What’s important about job internships like RDY2WRK? Research shows that students who see the relevance of education to their future lives stay in school and graduate in larger numbers.

Internships provide important linkages between classroom instruction and real-world application. We also know that most students acquire knowledge about careers from those closest to them, such as family, teachers, and friends. Job Internships allow exposure to a wider variety of career possibilities in many fields.

Students have a chance to see what life in a chosen career would be like on a day-to-day basis.

Internships are good for businesses too because they offer proven, cost-effective ways to recruit and enhance potential employees and to gauge whether curriculum matches industry requirements.

Economic indicators show that future employees must have the knowledge and skills sets required by a 21st century, global workplace. Programs like the RDY2WRK internships are crucial in meeting these demands and provide a vital link in preparing the future workforce for Shelby County and beyond.

If your business would like to sponsor a student and join the RDY2WRK team, please contact Rene’ Day, Supervisor for Career/Technical Education, at rday@shelbyed.k12.al.us.