Phase 2: Preparing for Internships
Engage and Prepare Youth
Timing: Concurrent with developing internships
Who: Internship coordinator
What to Do
Use the Effective Ways to Recruit and Select Students for School-Year Internships tool to engage 11th and 12th graders at participating high schools. Provide selected students with a thorough orientation that includes a frank presentation and exchange about program, employer, and student expectations. Help students develop their résumés and practice interviewing skills. Address the skills most likely to help students retain their jobs. Include an asset-based work readiness pre-assessment so students' skill gains can be documented at the completion of their internships. See the Preparing Students for Successful Internships tool. Provide students with activities that motivate them to use their internships to explore career options. See the Incorporating Career Exploration Activities into School-Year Internships tool. Have students begin developing their portfolios, if students will use these to record their experiences and learning.
A Best Practice: Provide a Thorough Preparation for Interns
Example: Philadelphia's Mastery Charter Schools provide an 18-week internship-training course that meets two days per week during the fall semester of the students' sophomore year. The course prepares students for their spring semester internships by guiding them through completing personalized career assessments, conducting company site visits, researching companies hosting interns, identifying their skills and strengths to highlight when creating their résumés, developing and practicing interviewing skills, and learning strategies for managing time and organizing work tasks. During the final three weeks of training, the interns attend a minimum of three interviews for their internship placement. Mastery's goals for the course are to develop the workplace skills, attitudes, and behaviors required for each student's professional success.
A Best Practice: Clarify Student and Employer Expectations
Example: Students enrolled in high school academy programs supported by the National Academy Foundation (NAF) begin preparing as 9th graders for internships that take place during the summer of their junior year. Preparation includes building 21st Century Skills
, developing a résumé, and participating in mock interviews. Because NAF staff have identified the challenge of matching students' and employers' expectations for job responsibilities and skill levels, preparation includes helping students develop realistic ideas of an internship position. During their own orientations, employers are apprised of the interns' skill sets and competencies and can interview three or four students before selecting the student(s) who best fit the position(s).