Many Bexar County high school students dream of finding high-paying jobs and higher education after graduation, but few understand the opportunities available or requirements for success.
County and City officials announced Friday that SA Works, an industry driven initiative within the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, will extend those valuable training opportunities through their Summer High School Internship Program. The eight week, paid internships will run from June 6 through Aug. 5.
Students interested in the program can register here.
“It’s all about talent, creating talent and keeping that talent in our community,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. “It’s so important to change that pipeline in education.”
Wolff and Mayor Ivy Taylor met with more than 70 public and private sector companies and organizations during a private breakfast on Friday morning, where they urged local employers to extend internship opportunities to high school students who want to succeed.
Earlier this month, more than 1,700 high school students from the greater San Antonio area were able to learn more about local employers and job opportunities during a Citywide Job Shadow Day.
“That was just 2 ½ hours,” said SA Chamber Vice President of Education Work Force Development Priscilla Camacho of the job shadow event. “Just imagine what students could obtain in six to 10 weeks. Every little bit of exposure brings them closer to what they want to do and what they don’t want to do.”
Commissioners Court also approved a $53,739 pilot summer program earlier this week that will offer at least 16 internship opportunities for high school students in departments including information technology, emergency management and public works.
Students interested in the summer program must fill out an SA Works registration form, available here. Internships and summer jobs are only available to ages 16 and over. Full job descriptions will be posted on the SA Works and Bexar County human resources websites by March 31.
Departments will reach out to interview student candidates in May, and use the registrants’ answers to pair students with relevant industries and opportunities. The eight week program will provide students with the hands-on training, professional experience and “soft skills” they need to succeed in the workforce.
“An internship is actually what first brought me here to San Antonio. It’s why I’m here today,” Taylor told the crowd on Friday. “You never know what tangent or opportunity will change a person’s life.”
The program will also support SA Works’ goal of creating 20,000 learning opportunities for students by 2020. The City’s existing Ambassador program has successfully connected hundreds of college student interns with STEM-based employers, but this will be the first collaborative program to create connections with high school students.
The program will help prepare students for current jobs and teach them innovative skills, Taylor said, which will help to fill the jobs that have yet to be created.
Depending on the pilot program’s success, there may soon be opportunities for students to begin workforce training throughout their high school and college careers, which would better connect talent with local employers.
“From a big picture perspective, we are looking at an entire spectrum of needs of development,” Taylor said of the San Antonio’s talent pipeline.”We could have some (initiatives) that may even start earlier in the future. We are trying to develop various pathways and meeting people at various stages of life.”
*Top Image: Mayor Ivy Taylor announced the City’s support for an extended high school internship program. Photo by Lea Thompson.