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City of Peoria Press Release

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High School Interns Learn About Career Choices in IT

Peoria Unified School District intern program helps students determine their right career choices.


The city of Peoria and the Peoria Unified School District are working together through a unique internship program which helps students make realistic career decisions before determining that the career they've selected is not really what it was all cracked up to be.

Liberty High School seniors Jackson Curless and Adam Goldsmith spent their final semester of school rebuilding computers, installing programs and making service calls on city employees, under the watchful eyes of seasoned IT professionals.

"When we first started I thought we were going to be doing manual tasks - go take this over here, do this, but the first week we really dove into it and got going, " said Goldsmith.

The Career and Technical Education Professional Internship Program provided through the Peoria Unified School District provides students with a quality work-based learning experience after completing classroom, laboratory experience and 100 hours of professional internship experience.

"What we try to do is to expose students before they leave high school - 'here's what the job entails' before you invest 2 years -3 years of college, is this something you want to invest 40 to 50 years doing? That's the goal of the internship," said Martin Bencic, pre-engineering instructor and intern faculty advisor for Liberty High School in Peoria.

The students gained valuable experience through the tasks they performed in the city's IT department. Some of the assignments ranged from salvaging parts from older computers to preparing new desktop or laptop computers for installation.

The city of Peoria's IT department operates on a highly efficient and tight staffing model, so having enthusiastic and competent interns is a valuable asset for such a busy department. For IT Technician ll Mike Saldan, helping Goldsmith and Curless learn has been rewarding.

"I actually like teaching and sharing my knowledge. If they take away anything from here is that they can call and tell me 'I did this' it makes me proud," said Saldan. "Plus, I don't have to carry anything."

Through the CTE internship program, students are provided an opportunity to realistically investigate professional fields being considered for future employment. The program helps students gain an educational perspective, financial information, and knowledge about all aspects of a specific career. The course is designed for an intern to experience the actual demands and expectations of the workplace.

"My goal has been to match the right students with the right department," said Bencic. O

Obtaining an internship with an organization such as the city is no easy task, according to Bencic. "Internship positions are very competitive. We have 7 high schools just in our district. To get this opportunity for them is very competitive. They have to sell themselves to get this."

Both Goldsmith and Curless know how fortunate they are to have an internship in the field of study they hope to someday make their career. It also gives them bragging rights with some of their friends.

"Whether they will admit it or not they are pretty jealous," said Curless. "Working in a government building and enjoying it is the entire package."

Goldsmith and Curless both plan on attending Arizona State University to study computer science. The experiences they have gained from working as an intern with the city will help them make the right decisions in their career choices.

"Even after college this experience will help us so much," said Curless.