Dallas teens gain work experience through Mayor’s Intern Program

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More than 280 Dallas ISD high school juniors and seniors are gaining real world experience thanks to the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program, which kicked off June 15.

Modeled after the White House Fellows Program, the Intern Fellows Program prepares motivated teens to become the leaders of tomorrow. During the eight-week paid summer internship, students from Dallas ISD and public charter high schools have the opportunity to learn skills from a variety of fields, including technology, healthcare and education.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the program is an investment in Dallas youth that delivers tangible, life-changing results. In 2014, interns worked in hospital bone marrow units and professional theaters, developed sports marketing programs, and witnessed engineers and architects as they tackled their next project.

Since its inception in 2008, 1,048 Dallas ISD and public charter high school students have participated in the program. This year, 110 companies and 105 nonprofit organizations, including Bank of America and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, have hired student interns.

“We weren’t sure what to expect bringing high school students into our organization,” said a FirstSouthwest spokesperson. “But we were extremely pleased with the professionalism and work ethic of our interns. A great experience for all.”

The program hopes to provide positions to all students who meet the program’s qualifications. Rawlings has asked businesses to increase the number of interns at their workplace and to recruit vendors, clients and neighboring businesses in order to accommodate all students.

Curtis Williams, a recent graduate at W.H. Adamson High School, said in February that his two completed internships better prepared him for life after high school.

“I’m proud of myself,” he said. “I learned how to network and gained a sense of community.”

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