Last Tuesday, students, teachers, and representatives from some of North Texas’ top companies gathered in the Shepton High School library as Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere kicked off his annual summer internship program.
As part of the eight-week long internship, students are placed into part-time and full-time positions at several North Texas companies and nonprofits, including Liberty Mutual, Boeing, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Capital One.
“Through the internship, we’re extremely excited to have this opportunity for kids to come in and interact with us in a side-by-side way to work with some knowledgeable professionals in the business world,” says Timothy Mullins, vice president of national sales at Capital One Financial Services. “This paid internship is not only benefiting students, but it also benefits us. We actually learned a lot from these students last year, and we’re really excited to host another crop of students coming here pretty soon.”
In 2019, 119 high school students interned with Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere in his summer internship program. For the internship program’s seventh year, LaRosiliere hopes to recruit at least 120 qualifying high school sophomores and juniors for the internship program. He wants to help each student find their niche. “The interesting part about [this internship] is that the interns learn how they fit,” he says. “They learn how their talents can add to the workplace. So many of the employers, at the end of the eight weeks, realize those kids have a lot more to offer than they thought. They thought they were doing them a favor by giving them an internship, but these kids very often transform their workplace.”
In order to qualify for the program, students must either be students at Plano public schools, or they must reside in Plano. They must also maintain a 3.0 GPA and be 16 years old by the start of the internship.
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As interns, the students will work at companies and nonprofits on a weekly basis for anywhere between 20 to 40 hours. They will be paid a minimum of $10 per hour and earn essential workplace skills.
Shepton High School Principal Jeff Banner has had several students involved in the past. “It’s amazing for them to give back to the community and to build their skills to impact the future,” he says.
LaRosiliere launched the internship’s seventh year at Shepton High School, where previous interns and representatives from the participating companies talked about their experiences with the internship. All of them mentioned enjoying the experience and taking away the knowledge and skills necessary for their careers.
Prior to the internship, selected students must attend an internship prep training workshop. At the workshop, they learn about how to dress professionally , how to make their resumes appealing, and how to nail job interviews. They also set future goals .
Boeing Global Engagement sponsors the prep training workshop. Michael Lawson, senior manager of Boeing Global Engagement, says it’s important for Boeing to develop a strong pipeline of talent, particularly within the realms of science, technology, engineering and math.
“Our interns shared about how much they valued the rigorous training that took place before the internships and how much it assisted in helping them be prepared,” Lawson says. “I like to tell our young employees that ‘p’ plus ‘r’ equals ‘s;’ ‘performance’ plus ‘relationships’ equals ‘success.’ The internship is a great way for students to start to understand how both of those aspects hard work, and getting along with the team can really help them be prepared for the future.
“Programs like this greatly help in developing 21st century skills and preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow.”
The Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program will run from June 8 to July 31. Interested applicants can apply by April 1 at planomayorsinterns.org.