BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools and other Central Oregon districts are expanding internship opportunities for high school students.
Joi Leahy is the School to Career Coordinator at Mt. View High School. She tells KBND News, "The Bend Chamber of Commerce just hired an Internship Coordinator; as did all the other communities. He is going to sign businesses up to be part of this. The schools are then going to get students to sign up." A new computer program, called Launch Path, helps pair student interns with businesses. "It’s an algorithm program where businesses put in what they’re looking for, students fill out a profile: kind of, what skills they have, maybe a reference letter on work they’ve done; Businesses can go in and interview these students for these internship opportunities." Launch Path has been used in Portland and San Diego, as well.
Leahy says, "Part of that came from the fact that businesses were approaching us constantly looking for workers. They were finding they couldn’t find skilled workers. So, it became pretty clear that the best solution would be to partner with community members, get students in businesses, get them trained; and then, basically, we’re training their new workforce."
For many of the student interns, it’s their first hands-on work experience, "Many of them have been involved in our CTE programs – Career and Technical Program," says Leahy. "So, they already have a little glimpse of what that work could look like. But, that’s just training; they’re not actually getting the hands-on in the business – work I think is essential for kind of knowing the direction you want to go." She says so far, kids in the program like the opportunity work outside of the classroom, and they're learning important soft skills like how to write a resume and take part in a job interview.
To hear the full interview with Joi Leahy, click HERE
or visit our Podcast Page