YouthWork Summit prepares high school students for careers

November 9, 2016
Students map their career path during a YouthWork Summit session.

Mayor praises local employers for hosting summer interns

More than 90 high school students from across Durham County learned about career readiness, local support resources and opportunities for summer internships Nov. 8 at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s annual YouthWork Summit.

The event officially kicks off the Durham YouthWork Internship Program for the year. YouthWork places young people ages 14-24 in paid summer internships with local businesses and nonprofits.

Summit sessions focused on career mapping, using social media on the job and role playing the dos and don’ts of first jobs. Youth-serving nonprofits participating in the resource fair shared information on the support services they offer students.

City of Durham Mayor Bill Bell recognized and praised employers who offered internships for Durham youth in the past.

“Your participation makes a huge difference in these youths’ lives,” Bell said. “For some of them it is their first job, their first exposure to work and the expectations of the workplace. You did your part in providing an excellent example and sharing your expertise with them while giving them an opportunity to learn and become a part of your workforce.”

More than 800 youth applied for internships for the summer of 2016. YouthWork placed only 196. YouthWork aims to add 50 new paid internships for summer 2016, for a total 250.

Cappye Mott, The Scrap Exchange

Cappye Mott, The Scrap Exchange

Among the employers was the nonprofit The Scrap Exchange, which hosted five summer interns for the first time in 2016.

“We had some students who came who had never been to The Scrap Exchange before, so they were exposed to our mission and our organization, and were really eager to give back,” said Cappye Mott, volunteer coordinator. “We found them to be very helpful.”

Interns processed donated materials, sorting, cleaning and merchandising the materials.

Kimley Horn and Associates has hired five high school juniors and seniors as interns in the past four years, said Kevin Dean, a civil engineer with the company. “We’ve had really good, interested, involved students who have been hard workers,” Dean said.

Kevin Dean, Kimley Horn

Kevin Dean, Kimley Horn

The company participates in the internship program to help students learn about the field of civil engineering. That helps create a talent pipeline for the company and gives students exposure to a potential career path. Interns help with traffic counts and analysis and provide administrative support for projects.

Kimley Horn rotates interns across the company’s various divisions to expose them to different aspects of the company. It also pairs them with employees at various career stages, who offer insights on career paths and opportunities.

Employers may support YouthWork in three ways:

  • Offer a paid summer internship in their own organization.
  • Sponsor an intern that is placed in a community agency.
  • Host an intern that is subsidized by another organization (limited spaces available for this option).

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