Thanks to financial support from Orange County United Way, 50 Anaheim Union students will be taking part this summer in eight-week paid internships with a dozen local businesses and nonprofit organizations to boost their career readiness skills.
It’s part of Anaheim’s Innovative Mentoring Experience (AIME), developed in cooperation with the city of Anaheim to give young people greater opportunities to explore careers and connect with professional mentors and role models.
To date, more than 700 students have been involved in AIME.
The internship program will start June 6 at Savanna High School with an orientation for the interns and their parents. At the kickoff, program coordinators will review the value of gaining workplace experience, plus the nuts and bolts of proper workplace behavior, touching on issues such as timeliness, dress code, and conflict resolution.
The local businesses and organizations involved in the summer program cover a wide spectrum, including St. Joseph’s Medical Center; the city of Anaheim; the Anaheim White House, California State University, Fullerton; Satori Law Firm; Deb Construction; Mr. Cabinet Care; the Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance, and the AUHSD.
“Thanks to these businesses and organizations, our students will explore careers that run the gamut from the law, to medicine, to technology, to construction,” Superintendent Michael Matsuda said. “You can’t overestimate the value of the real-world experience they will be receiving.”
The superintendent also praised Orange County United Way for its commitment to the summer program.
“United Way has once again proved to be an invaluable partner in our efforts to ensure that our students are college and career ready,” Mr. Matsuda said. “Their investment shows our students that the community cares about their future, and that goes a long way toward ensuring successful outcomes.”
As part of the organization’s education goal to cut the high school dropout rate in half by 2024, United Way is proud to partner with AUHSD on this important initiative.
“When students are given the opportunity to look ahead at what is possible upon graduation and get a taste of the working world, that is the key to keeping them engaged in school,” said Sergio Contreras, Senior Manager, Education, at United Way. “With the support of this summer internship program, these students have a leg up on college admissions and can leverage career connections.”
The 50 juniors from high schools across the District were selected based on staff recommendations on who would benefit the most from the experience. In addition to receiving scholarships for their work, plus high school credit for the internship experience, the students will receive bus passes from United Way enabling them to travel to their summer jobs.
“I’m grateful to United Way for their added generosity in providing the bus passes,” Mr. Matsuda said. “We have a lot of high-need students, as evidenced by the fact that 4,500 AUHSD students are homeless, living in motels or sleeping on garage floors.”
As part of their internships, the students will write about their experiences on the job. Their journals will give internship coordinators qualitative data to assess the students’ experiences and refine the program in the future.
“There will be a constant conversation taking place, providing feedback to ensure the program is operating at the highest level,” the superintendent said. “We’re not just patting the students on the back and sending them out into the workforce.”
Students will be given pre- and post-internship surveys on their career interests, and asked to complete a self-assessment of their career readiness at the end of the summer. Additionally, to gauge the success of the program, data will be collected to measure participants’ graduation rates, college enrollment, college persistence, and career choices.
About the Anaheim Union High School District
The Anaheim Union High School District serves approximately 31,000 junior high and high school students, and employs 2,8000 people. While it is centered in the city of Anaheim, it is stretches across 46 square miles and draws students from 55 feeder elementary schools in the cities of Anaheim, Cypress, La Palma, Buena Park, and Stanton. The District is fully committed to meeting the educational challenges of the 21st century and graduating students who are college and career ready, with purpose. Visit us @ www.auhsd.us and like us @ www.facebook.com/anaheimunion
About Orange County United Way
Since 1924, Orange County United Way has been working to improve lives and strengthen our community by mobilizing the caring power of Orange County. To do this, we focus on the building blocks for a good quality of life: Education, Income, Health and Housing. By investing in Orange County’s children, families and individuals, we help them meet their most basic human needs, including food, shelter and medical care, while at the same time creating pathways to self-sufficient futures through education and training. In short, we help people help themselves.
Through our 10-year initiative “FACE 2024” (an acronym for Fund, Advocate, Collaborate, Educate), United Way is mobilizing local businesses, community organizations, governmental agencies and individuals to make a long-term measurable difference in the lives of Orange County youth and families. Orange County United Way holds a 4-star rating from America’s largest and most-utilized independent charity evaluator, Charity Navigator. To learn more or to join our movement, visit www.unitedwayoc.org.
This article was released by Anaheim Union High School District.