You may have heard about the CCHS Student Internship Program and are wondering what all the buzz is about. It all began with Dr. I-Won't-Take-No-For-An-Answer Sue Segura, CCHS’s School Careers Coordinator, and her resolution to help prepare students for life after high school. Determined to forge mutually beneficial partnerships with local businesses like New Millennium, A&K, Fallon Glass, Stillwater Homes, New Millennium, Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, and more, Segura has implemented a robust student internship program that is actively helping students develop vital skills needed to survive – and thrive in the workplace.
Although several internships are already in place, Segura aims to increase the number of participating businesses from 29 to 40 by May. “I want to expand our business partnerships,” says Segura, who has a list of testimonials from happy business owners like Joey and Star Olsen with Bighorn ATV where CCHS student Eric Dumas has become a regular fixture. Dumas has been learning skills that will lead him toward a high-paying career as a mechanic. The Olsens also benefit from the internship. As a small family-owned business, they can afford to pay an intern, whereas hiring a full-time, fully-trained small engine repair professional might not be financially feasible. Then, there is the benefit of training someone to meet the needs of your specific business.
Here is what some of Segura’s business partners are saying:
Joe Frey of Rambling River Ranches: “These internships have been instrumental not only in teaching students work skills and ethics but also basic life skills. It's transformative for students who have previously had poor grades, a lack of family support, or special needs. I have seen grades and personal lives flourish as these internships bring new purpose for students."
A and K Construction Company: “We had two summer interns working for us, one in the field and one in the mechanic shop. With the decline in people entering the workforce for trades, we were pleased to see teenagers interested in these fields. Both were eager to learn and hard workers. We are excited to continue with this program next summer.”
Kenny Dixon of KD Automotive on his intern Shylo Jimmy: “Our intern is such an asset. She’s doing lube work, working with one of the shop guys. She is doing great.”
Fallon Ford, who has already had one successful intern, recently contacted Segura to secure another student to assist in the office.
Businesses are not the only ones raving about the program’s benefits.
Student intern Darius Paolini said, “Showing up and being on time made me successful at Stillwater Homes. Mr. Dakin is patient, hardworking, and a great employer.”
Randem Ferguson, a student who interned at Rambling River Ranches, said “I loved it a lot. I can't begin to measure everything I have learned. I learned so much.”
Another student now going into a skilled trade said, “The internship was life-changing for me. I have a career and am making good money. I probably would have been milking cows without it.”
While the businesses take on these paid interns and teach them things like mechanics, construction, veterinary technician assisting, retail and customer service, and office duties, Dr. Sue is working on “soft skills.” Twice a month, she works with students on the importance of being on time, willing to do dirty or complex jobs, and being respectful and courteous to employers, coworkers, and customers. “Work ethic is a challenge,” admits Segura, “These are skills they need to learn.”
“We need to help prepare students for adult life,” said Segura, who noted that few high school students have the skills to get or keep a job. Whether or not they plan on going directly into college or trade school, they need to be ready for life after high school.
Segura is also building Job Shadowing into the program. A type of on-the-job training that allows an interested student to follow and closely observe another employee performing their role in various positions. “Internships, training programs, and full-time positions for seniors are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Segura, whose long-range goals include local jobs and internships for underclassmen.
One exciting new development is a new partnership with EmployNV/Nevada Department of Training and Rehabilitation, which helps students connect with jobs, receive job training both online and in person, and help provide specific necessities required when starting a job like safety gear or work boots, and much more.
There is a lot more to the School to Career program than internships. The program aims to help students transition from high school to the real world. Whether this includes college, trade schools, missions, or a direct transition into the workforce, students must be ready. “We need to make changes and teach our kids that our choices have consequences,” said Segura. “Not our ability.”
If we don’t invest in our kids now, we won’t get any return. If you have a local business, please consider helping change a student’s life and help CCHS reach its goal of 40 internships by May.
Join the many businesses that have participated in the internship program: Big R, Fallon Ford Toyota, CC Communications, Berney Realty, The Fallon Post, JK Llamas, Stillwater Homes, Mills Farm and Industrial, A&K Earthmovers, CEDA, Oasis Air Conditioning and Heating, Hendrix Insurance, Fallon Glass and Sign, Churchill County School District, KD Auto, Rambling River Ranches, Torvik Veterinary, Bighorn ATV, New Millennium, Kent’s Supply, and more.