By KATE THURSTON – firstname.lastname@example.org
Many students at Connersville High School are getting their feet wet early in their desired career field.
Nine CHS students are interning at Fayette Regional Health System this semester.
Professional Career Internship is a Career and Technical Education Business and Information Technology course that is designed to provide opportunities for students to explore careers that require additional degrees or certification following high school. The emphasis of the experience is on applying skills developed through instruction and on learning new career competencies at the internship site.
The unpaid internship is tailored to the unique needs and interests of the student and is considered a high school capstone experience towards fulfillment of the student’s meaningful future plan. Upon completion of the internship, students will review and revise their career plans.
Internships are work-based activities in which students engage in learning through practical and relevant experiences at various internship sites. They involve the practical application of previously studied theory through course work.
Most of the interning students are in the Early College High School program.
“I have 13 students currently. We do this every semester,” Michael Thompson, ECHS coordinator, said. Last year about 30 students participated.
Thompson believes the program is beneficial for students as well as the staff they work with.
“I think the biggest thing about the internship is students have an idea of what they want to go to college for and hopefully this will either verify it, or not what they want to do. I think it is even more important for those who realize this is not what they want to do, that way they don’t waste their time. It’s important to see what the job is about.”
Other businesses in town hosting interns are Connersville Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Christie Dentistry and Connersville Eye Center.
Thompson encourages students to try the program and see if it is a good fit for them.
“Just sign up and get involved. If you are unsure what they want to do, I can try to place them in a couple different areas. The internship is a full semester, it started around the first of September. They get about three months in. Most interns get in at least six hours a week.”
The students seem to enjoy the program and learn a lot about their desired career field.
Hutton Getz, who is interning in the FRHS marketing department said, “I have really liked it. I have learned a lot more than I thought I was going to. I do like marketing.”
Melissa Jennings, the hospital’s team leader of radiology, has had Elise Bottomley as an intern.
“Elise has done well. She is very motivated and asks questions,” Jennings said. “She seems to like the hospital field. In general, since high school students can’t do much hands-on activities, she learns how we treat patients, cleaning and stocking rooms and learns about our day-to-day duties.”
Kim Gerrian, supervisor of the heart center, HealthWorks rehab, pain management and surgical care, said her interns have been nothing but wonderful.
“We have had cardiac pulmonary rehab, pulmonology and cardiology, speech and much more that the students have got to learn about. They follow the staff around and do what they are asked. They have all been great and willing to learn. It has been great for them and for the staff,” Gerrian said.
In the emergency room, Kitty Houghland has had two interns.
“I have worked down here (ER) for about four years. We have had lots of high school students in and out,” Houghland said. “It is a good experience for the students, to direct whether this is something they want to do. This is a real in-your-face experience here in the emergency room sometimes.”
“The staff enjoys having the interns around. There are a few students that hang with us and we make a good connection with them. They get to follow the doctors around, even little tasks like changing bed sheets and wiping a bed down helps us so much. They learn a lot, they are able to help patients with simple things like getting them a glass of water. Those small tasks make an impact. Sometimes patients just enjoying talking to the interns. It has been really good for staff, students, patients and the community.”
For more information about internship opportunities, contact Thompson at 765-825-1151, ext. 202.