Internships help students become career-ready

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Workforce Investment Board program participants earned valuable experience

By Amber Coulter

Jared Clemons found more than the summer job he was looking for when he took an internship through the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board.
Clemons, of Leitchfield, heard about the seven-week internship while looking for a job to pay off one semester of college and make enough money to continue his education.
He was one of 70 in the Lincoln Trail area this summer to complete the internship program aimed at preparing young area adults for careers and providing summer help for business, nonprofit and governmental employers.
Clemons thinks his summer job in the materials management department of Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center in Leitchfield taught him important lessons for the career he wants as a special education teacher.
He learned about soft skills necessary for obtaining and keeping a job, such as showing up on time and working well with people.
He also learned computer skills, such as looking up inventory, as he made deliveries throughout the medical center.
“I loved it,” he said. “I wish it could have lasted longer.”
Clemons said computer and social skills likely will be important to him as a special education teacher.
Octavia Phillips of Hodgenville took an internship this summer before beginning her junior year at the University of Louisville.
Phillips, who is studying accounting, was looking for an appropriate summer job. She considered herself lucky that she wouldn’t have to quit the internship at the end of the summer to go back to school and the position was related to her career goal of becoming an accountant.
She worked for LaRue County Schools, mostly in the school system’s finance department, where she gained people skills, picked up tips on office professionalism, used office machinery, learned about clerical work and gathered  references for future endeavors.
“I had a lot of jobs,” she said. “It was really fun.”
Phillips would recommend the internship program because of skills she learned and the positive summer job opportunity.
“I would love to do it again if I could,” she said.
The internship also gave Phillips a potential job opportunity for the future.
Superintendent Sam Sanders said Phillips did such a good job he suggested she submit an application to be considered next time the school system has an opening.
Sanders said there always is work to do in the district during the summer.
Providing an internship opportunity allowed school system employees to accomplish more while providing an educational experience to a former LaRue County student, he said.
“I thought it was a win-win situation for the intern and the district,” he said.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.