Students hired into internships at SDPBC the summer of 2019 were asked to complete a survey inquiring about their motivation to become interns and what their expectations and discoveries were. In all, 73 students were asked to participate, and 38 responded (52%).
Interns’ Choices for Summer Enrichment
Interns’ Choices Post-High School
Interns’ Choices for Experiential Learning
The survey was created to glean information on students’ perspectives toward experiential learning. A few college students were interns, but the great majority were in high school. For the various opportunities for experiential learning that were listed, students selected having jobs and internships as their most desired activity. Students were likely less familiar with the other types of experiential learning. More information and greater access to opportunities would benefit students’ participation in these areas.
A small number of responses (6) were received from a survey sent to Career Education focal points in Florida school districts. The sample being very small, no weight can be given to the quantitative data received. However, qualitative responses to four survey questions provide meaningful information. The following tables shed light on how some high schools treat experiential learning. Readers who would like to review all 21 survey questions can request the summary report from either of this report’s authors.
- Limited number of teachers to run the programs
- Limited number of volunteer mentors
- Student transportation
- Labor regulations applying to students under 18
- Finding host employers
i In the United States placing students into educational tracks that lead them to careers is generally rejected in favor of allowing students time choose their own pathways to making a living. Giving them early vocational experience is seen as very useful in their decision making (Schrager, 2019).
ii Farouk Dey of Johns Hopkins University considers “an internship…a great way to ‘test’ a solution.” This fits into his philosophy of life design as a series of “trying different things, pursuing areas of curiosity, and allowing your life and career to evolve” (Dey, 2019).
iii Tamara Mitchell-Davis, Assistant Director of Career Pathways & Business Operation for Hartford Public Schools, attests to internships as being especially important for underprivileged students in ensuring post-secondary success. For her personally having a high school “internship was an opportunity to see something bigger and greater than my surroundings “ (Mitchell-Davis).
iv AT&T runs a mentoring program that aims to keep students engaged in education. The corporation asserts that: “mentoring is proven to have a positive effect on students’ efficacy, confidence and decision-making skills and to enhance their career aspirations” (AT&T, 2019).
v A CTE roundtable discussion uncovered principal reasons why businesses participated in local high schools’ programs. “Employers often become engaged in education for two purposes — to support their community and to strengthen their future pipeline of qualified employees.”
vi The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards recognizes eight pathways or specialty areas for teachers to pursue CTE certification (National Board Publishes New Standards for CTE):
- Business, Marketing and Financial Services
- Community Services
- Decorative Arts and Design
- Engineering, Design and Fabrication
- Information Systems and Technology, Communications and the Arts
- Leisure Recreation Services
- Natural Resources
- Transportation Systems and Services
vii The U.S. Department of Education has a toolkit that prescribes three components for comprehensive WBL programs (Components of Comprehensive Work-Based Learning (WBL) Programs):
- Alignment of classroom and workplace learning
- Application of academic, technical and employability skills in a work setting, and
- Support from classroom or workplace mentors.
viii The School District of Palm Beach County has an apprenticeship arrangement with Palm Beach State College (PBSC). The maintenance organization sends select young employees to PBSC for electrician training to acquire certification. The district covers all costs.
ix AT&T has mobilized hundreds of its own employees to be mentors in its Aspire Program. Additionally, its philanthropic Aspire Accelerator Program annually trains six to 10 startup companies to conduct online training for students in computer science and applications (AT&T Center for Digital Education, 2019).
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