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Should High School Students take on an Internship?

Internships are a great option for students to get real exposure to a career they show interest in. In the past, people thought of internships as only for college students; however, this option has slowly started to become more popular among high school students. According to USnews.com, internships can be beneficial for high school students in many different ways. Young adults gain confidence by being around and talking to adults. They also get a better understanding of a professional working environment.

Learning business etiquette on the job is truly valuable. The Washington Post states “Research has shown that students who are employed while in high school or college allocate their time more efficiently, learn about workplace norms and responsibilities, and are motivated to study harder in their classes so they can achieve a certain career goal”. 

HR professional choosing job candidate. Hands holding personal file, checklist, employee profile.

So, what’s the difference between a regular high school job and an internship? 

It’s great for students to get their first entry-level job, where they can learn how to do an interview, time management skills, and the value of a dollar. Internships can be even more beneficial because they are more goal oriented. High school students unsure of what direction to go after graduation can use their time with companies to explore roles and industry that fit them best. 

Many employers say that a vast majority of the young people they meet do not have the skills they are looking for when hiring new employees. As more and more high school graduates continue their education into college, degrees are not a guarantee of landing and keeping a well-paid job. Students are having to compete more to secure their spot. Forbes reports that students are filling their time with extracurricular activities to make their college applications stand out amongst the rest. Although this isn’t a bad thing, it is not for everyone and can take valuable time away from learning business appropriate soft skills employers desire.

Luckily, many states are beginning to see the value in internships during high school. Massachusetts and South Carolina have set aside funding in their budgets for internships and other work-based learning programs. Ohio is also working to expanding their programs. Ohio’s Department of Education released a statement in early March 2022 discussing the High School Tech Internship 2.0 pilot program. This offers a grant opportunity for Ohio employers that will reimburse them for recruiting high school interns in tech-related roles, including software development, data, cloud and IT infrastructure and cybersecurity. It is an exciting way to incentivize opportunities for young people to get a head start on their career in tech. 

How can educators and afterschool professionals help?

Each student will take a different path after graduation and interning while in high school isn’t for everyone. But encouraging the exploration of career fields early helps students’ paths seem more clear. This August, EnvisionEdPlus is hosting a two day, in person LaunchPad Summer Institute that is designed to help you and your team inspire the youth you serve and prepare them for their futures. Learn from like-minded education leaders, design strategies and begin planning. The event will be at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, a beautiful location for you and your team to rejuvenate and reignite before the beginning of the 2022/23 school year. Join us for this inspiring event then spend your free time relaxing by the pool, or zip lining and kayaking. 

Together we can work to inspire youth and give them the preparation they need to be successful in their next chapter of life.