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Havasu businesses give 12 teens a job jumpstart

By Pam Ashley Today’s News-HeraldApril 12, 2019

Thursday was payday for 12 high school students who were all smiles when they received their wages for participating in the Career Internship Exploration program.

The students each worked 30 hours – at $11 an hour -- at various businesses in Lake Havasu City. While the paycheck was welcomed, students also received a priceless experience.

“They each got a realistic view of skills they are going to need when they enter the workforce,” said Marsha Becker. Becker coordinates the program through her job as the Career and Technical Education director for the Lake Havasu Unified School District.

Now in its third year, the Career Internship Exploration program pairs Havasu businesses and high school students. For the second semester program, 10 students were from Lake Havasu High School and two were from Telesis.

The students work as paid interns over a six-week period. Funding is provided by the Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation for Education and Leadership, said the Chamber’s President Lisa Krueger.

Krueger and Becker both spoke at an informal luncheon celebration Thursday for the students and their employers. According to comments shared with the group, the employers gained nearly as much useful information as the student interns.

“We learned a lot from Abbie (Gregg),” said Sarah Stinnett of Lake View Terrace, a memory care facility. “Our time with her shaped how we need to train new people who have no experience. And even better, we were able to hire Abbie after the internship was over.”

Steve Blake said intern Jose Acosta Torres taught him a new skill. Blake is an information technology staffer for the municipality of Lake Havasu City.

“Jose was exposed to all parts of the job and he picked it up really quickly. He taught me all about drones. Before, I didn’t know anything about them,” Blake said.

Angela James of Wachtel, Biehn and Malm noted that this is the second year the law firm has participated in the Career Internship Exploration program.

“I love this program,” James said. “Students learn that being a lawyer is not as glamorous as what they see on TV – and that’s a good thing.”

Intern Samantha Zilberman agreed.

“I learned that paralegals do a lot of work – a lot of work. Once I saw how things come together on a case, it made me want to be a lawyer,” Zilberman said.

To become an intern, the student must apply and provide a resume and letter of recommendation. Eligible juniors and seniors are at least 16 years old and have their own transportation.

The next round of internships will be available in the fall for the 2019-20 school year. The Chamber’s Krueger said the program will gear up after school starts in August.

When the program launches, students are asked to choose two or three areas of interest for the pairing-up process with businesses that are Chamber members. Next, the students participate in a workshop to prepare for the workplace, including interview preparedness. Students are then individually interviewed by a Chamber panel. The last step before going on the clock is an interview with prospective employers. Students learn about dress codes, job requirements and company culture at that time.

Pam Ashley can be reached at 928-453-4237, ext. 230 or pashley@havasunews.com.

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