Unit Five Superintendent Mark Daniel said every high school student should have the opportunity to get an internship before they graduate.
Daniel said it is important to allow students to look into different career paths such as engineering.
"I have seen students truly become aware of what engineering is and also what the demands of that course of study would be if they pursue it in post secondary education," said Daniel.
Daniel said Unit Five wants to connect kids to their passions and interests. Internships can be a crucial way to open up doors and lead students to the next step in their lives, he said.
The program has begun slowly. But, Daniel hopes to grow it over time.
"Ideally I would love to see in five years, 50% of our students have an internship by the time they graduate. Now whether they do it one semester in their junior year or in their senior year doesn't matter. Somewhere along the line they should have that experience," said Daniel.
In a previous job in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Daniel said he had great success with an internship program. It solidified what he termed soft skills as well: communication, timeliness, and professionalism, which are all prerequisites for any position in the working world.
Many communities have a brain drain problem. When students go away from home to college, they tend not to come back. Daniel said by connecting students with businesses during their high school years, businesses can open the door to professional experiences during summers or provide contacts that can linger and grow into jobs later.
The EDC and the Chamber of Commerce, Daniel said, are also involved in finding internship opportunities for Unit Five students.
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