Finding a skill or making a business connection is important. More and more high schools are realizing this and have put programs in place that give students valuable hands-on, practical business experience through internships.

Burton and Porterville school districts have had success with their pathways and academies.

Lindsay is having success with an internship program at JJ Cairns, the district’s continuation high school.

The Learning Through Internships program, in its second year, combines classroom education with hands-on lessons in the workplace.

Two days a week, sophomores, juniors and seniors spend the day out in the community with a local business partner, doing work related to what they might be interested in doing after high school.

The new internship program is the result of a collaboration between JJC staff and Big Picture Learning, a non-profit organization dedicated to a fundamental redesign of education throughout the United States.

Business mentors are asked to treat student interns like employees, including hiring, firing and discipline.

The results have been positive and immediate.

Last year, Cairns’ staff saw suspensions drop from 10 to 4 percent, attendance jump from 83 to 96 percent, and the graduation rate improve from 78 to 90 percent. 

Also, 90 percent of JJC graduates had a post-high school plan, including junior college and trade school enrollments.

Who knows where these kids might have ended up without this program?

We’re just glad it’s in place, opening eyes and doors.

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