Dozens of Hartford Public High School students are heading into the new school year with real-life work experience after completing summer internships at one of many area businesses and organizations.
All of the nearly 50 students had paid positions, with funding for many provided by the Galwicki Family Foundation.
The students gathered Aug. 23 in Hartford with business and civic leaders to celebrate their accomplishments.
Ted Gawlicki, representing the foundation, offered congratulations to the interns, their employers, and encouraged business leaders to increase internships next summer by working their networks.
"Let's get it up to 75 internships next summer," he said.
Companies providing internships included Budget Printers, City of Hartford, CPAN, CSEA, Connecticut Science Center, Connecticut Department of Transportation, Downtown Hartford YMCA, Hartford Knights Youth, Hartford Parking Authority, Hartford Public Library, iQuilt, Katz & Seligman, Literacy Volunteers, Lumi Agency, MDC, Minority Construction Council Old State House, P&L Electric, PELabs, Pratt & Whitney, RealArt Ways, RSL Fiber Systems, Tech Talent South, TheaterWorks, United Way, UTC, and WorldBusiness Capital, Inc.
Through these internships, students can see how their school courses connect to their career choices.
The experience also inspires them to see the value of their contributions in the workforce while learning about the workplace and developing professional skills.
The internships are part of the Hartford Public High School Academy of Engineering and Green Technology, a career-themed learning pathway within the National Academy Foundation network that is supported by a long-standing grant from United Technology Corporation.
NAF academies blend academic rigor with career-connected learning in communities typically comprised of under-served, low-income, minority students.
These academies increase attendance, academic performance, and graduation rates.
ReadyCT oversees the program through its affiliation with CBIA.
A key component of the internship program is that it's mutually beneficial—the intern, through their contributions, has a lasting impact on the company, and the student gains insight and knowledge of the working world.
Employers confirmed this was the case with the 2019 interns: Amari and Jamari renovated record-keeping systems for the Hartford Public Parking Authority, Diego retooled a community director to benefit the engineers at the Connecticut Department of Transportation, and Tajay offered her employer, iQuilt, ideas that formed a communications plan to engage with young adults.
These are just a few examples of the impact the interns made.
Dave Smith, a senior executive at Pratt & Whitney who serves on the school's NAF advisory board, addressed the Aug. 23 gathering.
"Work shows you what you might enjoy and what you might not enjoy," he said. "Work-based experiences put into practice the academics.
"Students often ask, 'Why do I have to learn this?' Or, 'Why do I have to know that?'
"Just go to work for six weeks, and you get a sense of why you need this and that."
Several students spoke of the learning and mentoring they received while some employers offered jobs to interns at the end of the internship.
Contact ReadyCT to learn how your company can participate in the summer internship program.