On-the-job training opportunities

Internships and apprenticeships will help you get ahead

Those new to the workforce will have a distinct advantage if they have gained experience through an internship or apprenticeship.  

Many secondary and post-secondary schools across the state now offer such opportunities.

Milford High School

At Milford High School & Applied Technology Center, Donald Jalbert, Director of Technical Studies, said they have two groups each semester of about 20 to 25 students who are able to pursue internships.

“Some of them are connected to programs here at the Applied Technology Center, although sometimes not,” he said. “A kid doesn’t necessarily have to have completed one of our programs to access an internship.”

Citing the popularity of these internships, he said they do expect to see some evidence of a foundation in course work that would lead up to the internship.

“We don’t want someone coming out of the chute and saying, ‘I want to be a rocket scientist’ without having taken a physics course first,” he said.

Richard Paiva, career development counselor at Milford High School & Applied Technology Center, manages their internship opportunities, which he said number about 50 per year. He said these internships are offered in fields that range from mechanical engineering, law enforcement and marketing to diagnostic imaging, graphic design and exercise science.

“We will work with any business that wants to work with kids,” he said.

Internships are not primarily focused on helping students develop technical skills, according to Paiva.

“Eighty percent of kids get to do internships that are exploratory and the other 20 percent practice technical skills,” he said. “Internships are more about practicing career readiness skills. Can you meet deadlines? When your mentor gives you a project and you are done, can you figure out the next thing you can do?”

He said the emphasis behind their internship opportunities and advising philosophy in general is to help prepare students for success in life.

“We can always help students with what they want to do, but the reality is the jobs they will get do not even exist today,” said Paiva. “In order to get them to this future, we need to concentrate on the most important things – reliability, communication, dependability, collaboration…Those are the universal skills kids will need to be successful in the workplace and life.

MY TURN

Since 1984, MY TURN has helped more than 25,000 young people, age 14 to 24, to further their education and obtain jobs through academic and employment training programs, including internships, some of which are paid.

One of MY TURN’S most successful and visible internships is at Hitchiner Manufacturing in Milford. In the program, students spend half the day in the classroom and the rest of the day at Hitchiner’s manufacturing facility.

According to Executive Director Allison Joseph, the partnership has been a success.

“Out of the 20 kids who have been through the program, 17 received job offers with Hitchiner,” she said. “It’s been a great partnership.”

She said the internship with Hitchiner is representative of MY TURN’S emphasis on helping students, particularly those underserved, develop “the critically needed soft skills training” many entry-level employees currently lack.

“We subsidize students’ wages for up to 150 hours, too,” she said. “We cover worker’s compensation, insurance – we support businesses to ensure a successful placement.”

She said students who have completed their internships earn on average between $5 and $15 more per hour.

 “They also retain their jobs at a higher rate than their peers,” she said. “The combination of work-based learning opportunities — like internships — coupled with technical training is the most effective way of propelling a young person into a livable wage career path.”

MY TURN serves nearly 500 youth annually across New Hampshire. For more information, go to www.my-turn.org.

ApprenticeshipUSA

Last November, the Community College System of New Hampshire was awarded a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to enhance apprenticeship opportunities within information technology, healthcare and manufacturing sectors.

“We’re working with both high schools and our Community College System of NH colleges to develop short-term training programs,” said Beth Doiron, Director of College Access and DoE Programs and Initiatives at CCSNH. “All apprenticeship programs are different in length, typically six months to a year. However, all will combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training.”

Noting that these apprenticeships can be for academic credit or non-credit, Doiron said all students who complete a program will obtain a nationally recognized credential.

“Hopefully, students who participate in non-credit apprenticeship programs will then matriculate into a credit-bearing program to earn an academic credit bearing certificate or associate’s degree,” she said. “Our goal is to give students the skills they need to quickly obtain a high-need, high-skill job to meet both their and the employer’s economic need that can be the start of a career pathway for them.”

Currently, CCSNH is developing a medical assistant apprenticeship program at a few hospitals throughout the state. At Manchester Community College, a medical assistant apprenticeship program is being developed so students can participate in a short-term, year-long non-credit apprenticeship program. Students can then move into a medical assistant program at MCC where they can earn their associate’s degree.

“We’re meeting the employer’s immediate needs and then encouraging students to go get that two-year degree if they’re interested,” she said.

Doiron said they are developing similar opportunities in the advanced manufacturing sector.

“There are several apprenticeships that are on the brink of just starting with various companies — mostly in the Lakes Region and River Valley Community College areas,” she said.

To learn more about CCSNH, go to www.ccsnh.edu.

Rob Levey is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.

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