Local News

Wake County schools' program gives job skills to high school students

Posted July 7, 2017 10:22 a.m. EDT
Updated July 7, 2017 6:42 p.m. EDT

Some people think about internships being limited to college students, but an innovative program in Wake County schools is giving younger students a front-row seat to the business world.

The district's career academies are giving students a taste of life at work.

Barrette Haigler works at Speed Pro Imaging in Apex. Haigler is an intern from Apex Friendship High School, and while at work he's doing more than getting coffee and making copies—he's getting hands-on training.

"I can say I'm making progress, learning a lot from it as far as being in the real business world," Haigler said.

Apex Friendship is one of Wake County Public Schools' 18 career academies. The curriculum is built around a particular career theme, and part of that curriculum is a 135-hour internship.

"It's so important for students to see how communication, teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking—how that really aligns with a business or organization," said Diane Cadvid of Apex Friendship High School.

Speed Pro owner Mark Simmons signed up to give students like Barrette a taste of life on the clock.

"It's about time management skills, quality, customer service, efficiency, and I think he's learning that every day," Simmons said.

Haigler will be a high school senior in the fall, and he's already making plans to go to Texas A&M to major in engineering.

While he doubts he'll go into the printing business, he said his summer at Speed Pro is teaching him a lot.

"It is a great opportunity, and i'm glad i did this sooner than later," he said.

The county is looking for businesses who are willing to host summer interns from career academies.