Internship program going strong at WHS

WESTFIELD – At a recent event at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Governor Deval Patrick discussed the importance of internships, for students and businesses alike, all over Massachusetts.
“Our continued economic growth depends on keeping the best and brightest here when they graduate. That’s why we’re focusing significant energy on showing our students the tremendous opportunities Massachusetts has to offer after they finish school,” said Governor Patrick.
Fortunately, none of that energy has gone to waste at Westfield High School, where the internship program at the John E. Reed Career Center has given many students an opportunity to intern at many of the local businesses in Westfield.
“When we first started doing internships, we had about 10 sign up. This year it’s gone up to about 40,” said Angela Nunes, director of the Career Center at WHS. “It gives them hands on learning experience in a professional environment. You learn how to behave and dress appropriately, how to work with other people, and you get first-hand experience with real-world work.”
At the Career Center, students are given the opportunity to learn many skills that are vital in today’s highly competitive work force, including resume and cover letter writing and how to behave during a job interview.
“It gives them a jump-start on a job and it’s a win-win situation for everyone. If a student enjoys his or her internship, than great! If not, then that student realizes that they don’t want to be doing that job for the rest of their lives and they don’t waste any time learning about it for 4 years in college.” said Nunes.
In order for students to apply for an internship, they must sign up for it while figuring out their school schedules for senior year. From there, they must look for a business willing to host them as interns, and if they cannot find one themselves, the Career Center can help them find one. They are also required to write up a mock cover letter and resume explaining their reasoning for wanting to intern in the first place.
“It’s quite a formal process.” said Raymond Broderick, principal of Westfield High School. “But in the long run it gives students an opportunity to see if they want to be a part of their respective field. It gives a renewed, stronger commitment to their area of work.”
It isn’t only students that benefit from the experience. Businesses benefit from the opportunity to host students as interns, as well.
“They learn about who’s going to be the future of their business and they truly enjoy teaching them how the job works. It shows that they want to get involved with the community and it builds the business‘s reputation with the youth,” said Nunes.
Given the many benefits stemming from the internship program, it currently shows no signs of slowing down and will continue to nurture the future workers of Westfield for years to come.

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