January 9, 2017 (Independence, IA) – As part of its commitment to providing educational opportunities, the Independence Community School District (ICSD) is in its 20th plus year of implementing an internship program at the Jr/Sr High School. In addition to providing students with on-the-job work experiences, the school district’s internship program offers the opportunity to understand the educational requirements for work fields they may be interested in pursuing after graduation and ultimately, can open the doors to future employment plans.
During their junior or senior year, students can request that an internship class be placed in their schedule. Over the last year, participation has ranged from 27-35 students per term.
“I feel very fortunate. It’s been an experience where I’ve learned so much, and I’ve become so much more knowledgeable about concert productions, lighting productions, sound production, and filmmaking,” said Independence senior Ryan Adams, after a placement with Travis McBride helping with all school productions during the first term of the 2016-17. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work, and I’ve seen my time management skills and work ethic both improve, and I hope to keep improving them.”
After an initial discussion with each term’s participating students, coordinator Jayme Beyer helps match them to a placement in their interest area within the community. In some cases, students contact business owners directly; others rely on more support. Depending on the individual student’s needs, Mrs. Beyer helps to set up meetings, start the orientation process and line up transportation coordination. Past intern responsibilities have included office work, observing surgeries at both Pipestone Veterinary Clinic and the Buchanan County Health Center, hands-on experience with assembly, parts and hardware at Geater Manufacturing, even working with engineers on reading and designing CAD drawings.
Dianne Hepke, Student Volunteer Coordinator for Buchanan County Health Center states, “The career internship/shadow program is a great way for students to be introduced to a career in health care. We have been fortunate to have students come through the program and in turn follow a path that leads them to many varied opportunities. Some of the most popular shadow experiences are nursing and radiology.”
“I believe that this type of real-world exposure and experience is invaluable to our students,” says Work Experience/Internship Coordinator Jayme Beyer. “I am so grateful to all businesses and business owners who take time out of their busy schedules to make time for our students and give them this incredible opportunity.” To date, over 100 Independence-area businesses have supported the Internship and Work Experience Programs.
Beyer credits the programs with numerous success stories. After his hard work at a Geater Manufacturing internship, Kyle Zieser was able to interview for and accept a part-time position in 2014, which he still holds. Just this past term, Austin Mentor-Ealy was looking for a part-time job, and his internship landed him a paid position helping out front at the Goodwill retail store. But students whose experience don’t lead directly to employment still count their internship as a highlight to their Independence High School experience. “The internship program opens many doors for students and gives insight to their future plans.” says Liberty McKiney, a senior this year.
Officer Cass states, “Having Liberty ride along and learn with us was not only a great opportunity for her to learn, but also an excellent time for us to teach.”
In order for students to receive credit for the internship program, requirements include providing documents and signed hours, communicating with the coordinator, interviewing the people they are working with, and writing a thank you note at the end of their internship.
Jayme Beyer has managed the work experience program for ten years and has also been in charge of the internship program for the last two years. Finding participating businesses has been something of a collaborative grassroots effort by Beyer and her students, but the district is open to new and expanded ideas as the program continues to give students a stake in both their careers and their local business community.
For more information on the internship program or work experience program, please contact Jayme Beyer at email@example.com or call 319-334-7400.