Chamber Partnership with PUSD Placed Local High School Students in Meaningful Work Experience Opportunities During Summer
Published : Tuesday, August 23, 2016 | 1:08 PM
Working with the College and Career Pathways office at Pasadena Unified School District, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce placed 50 PUSD high school students in internship opportunities with local employers this summer. The achievements of those students and the partnership with host companies was celebrated at Brookside Golf Club on Saturday, August 20, 2016, an event hosted by the PUSD. Mayor Terry Tornek was on hand to give a welcome and appreciation for the collaboration between the PUSD, the Chamber and Armory Center for the Arts, who also placed interns this summer.
The Chamber’s Workforce Development Manager, Amy Foell, worked to find placements for students in the Health Careers Academy, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Academy, both at Blair High School, the Law and Public Service and App Academies at Pasadena High School and the Business and Entrepreneurship and Engineering and Environmental Science Academies at Muir High School.
Student interns were required to serve a minimum of 60 hours of internship from June to August. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce provided the bridge between the Pasadena Unified School District and Chamber member companies for intern placements. Students worked in local law offices, the office of the Pasadena City Attorney, health and senior care facilities, engineering and construction companies, automotive and technology companies. One Pasadena High School student spent the summer working at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“There are tangible benefits for the students who take part in job shadowing and internships,” said Ms. Foell. “We see the excitement and enthusiasm first-hand and hear about how the experience informs decisions the students make about their futures.”
Of the students who took part in the Chamber internship in the summer of 2015, the graduating class of 2016, two are serving our country in the military, one is still deciding about her future path and the remaining 46 are furthering their education.
Students placed by the Chamber in 2016 had extensive training in appropriate workplace dress and behavior, punctuality, customer service, communications and business ethics. Ms. Foell placed the students, oversaw their training, monitored their summer experiences and is evaluating the success of the summer internships.
High school interns are also required to attend a weekly summer class for elective credit pertaining to time management, professionalism and workplace behavior and ethics. In order to complete the internship program successfully all students must give a final presentation about their experience and receive a letter of recommendation from their supervisor. The summer hours accrued go towards work-based learning hours required for graduation.
Businesses and organizations are always needed to provide internship placements, job shadow opportunities and classroom speakers in the restaurant and hospitality industry, healthcare, legal profession, veterinary, engineering, construction, business and entrepreneurship, environmental and law enforcement professions.
Benefits for participating companies are: low to no cost, short-term support, an introduction to motivated youth for your hiring pipeline, assistance with technology and innovative ideas plus the satisfaction of adding value to the Pasadena community.
“Host companies get the drive to succeed and perspective of a younger person in the workplace, along with a great amount of enthusiasm,” said Pasadena Chamber CEO Paul Little. “We host interns each summer in our offices and always enjoy the experience. There is tremendous value, for us and the interns.”
The program is so successful for employers that host companies donated more than $5000 toward stipends for their student interns this year. “There was no requirement that interns be paid, but we had a huge response from companies that wanted to reward the interns for their hard work and contribution to the company’s success,” said Ms. Foell. “A few companies opted to put their interns on the payroll. This is ideal because the students get a real-world perspective, including withholdings and deductions from their paycheck. We even had some interns who were offered employment by their host companies once their internship was finished.”
All Pasadena Unified student interns have work permits, liability and worker’s compensation insurance provided through the school district.
Any local company wanting information on hosting and intern or other involvement in the Chamber initiative with Pasadena Unified can email email@example.com, call the Chamber office at (626) 795-3355 or fill out an inquiry form at www.pasadenayouthworks.org.
The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association is a professional business organization. Since the earliest days of Pasadena, the Chamber has played a major role in the development of this internationally renowned city. Since 1888, when the organization was founded as the Board of Trade, the Chamber’s primary purpose has been the enhancement of both the business climate and the quality of life in Pasadena. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce serves more than 1400 members.