ST. PARIS – Students in the Career Gears Internship Program at Graham High School are working to get a jump ahead in the real world. On many levels, the effort in education is to provide students with experiential learning and Graham and Ohio Hi-Point are taking a leadership role. Students work with Judy Fletcher and the administration to match career interests with on-site learning. Experiences range from practice application and interview to job shadow experience to ongoing internship experience. Of course, the dream would be to find students opportunities that lead to scholarship, leadership, and/or employment, which is starting to happen.
“I wish I had this opportunity when I was in high school,” said Mike Short, owner of Streamline Graphic and Print in Urbana. Short is a 1999 graduate of Graham High School and went on to study graphic design at Ohio Institute of Photography and Technology. When he got to college, he felt that many of his peers were able to “hit the ground running” because they had been exposed to current software used in the business. He had to spend some time catching up. He is mentoring Laura Campbell, a Graham High School junior who is interested in graphic design. He has offered her good advice on how to prepare.
“I’ve actually learned a lot,” Campbell said. She said she enjoys going to Short’s business up to three afternoons per week to participate in real projects.
Graham junior Austyn Schneider is actively engaged with the Urbana and Christiansburg fire departments. His dream is to work with CareFlight. Springfield Fire Department Battalion Chief Bob Smith offered a day-long job shadow experience for Schneider.
“The fire department is committed to recruiting the finest young men and women. Doing ride-alongs is one way for students to get exposure to see if they have what it takes,” he said.
Students must also complete a capstone project. This process involves working together with their peers and their mentors to problem solve in the workplace. Critical thinking, problem solving and global thinking have been pinpointed as keys to success in the 21st century.
More excellent mentors are needed. Not all students are experiencing the same level of involvement as Campbell and Schneider. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) laws limit the amount of participation that students interested in the medical field can obtain. Many area businesses are working through the legal aspects of having a student in their facility.
Those able to offer opportunities for students are asked to contact contact Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke or Graham High School Principal Joe Hurst for more information.
Submitted by Ohio Hi-Point.