Internships programs offer students the chance to gain practical and valuable experience, but finding internships for the students can be a problem for schools across the country as it takes dedicated resources in a time when budgets are tight. But in Ohio, some schools are starting internships programs for students who are interested in studying or pursuing careers in technology.
According to Charlie Boss of The Columbus Dispatch, Reynoldsburg High School in Ohio has started a summer internship program for students interested in technology and computers. The interns are learning basic computer programming, computer security and networking — and also earning money. The yearlong internship program in Reynoldsburg will give students a deep enough understanding of an area of information technology that they can earn a professional certification. The students will be paid $7.85 an hour during the summer program.
"I like the program because it can help me further my understanding about computers and technology that I can't learn on my own," said senior Blake Campbell, one of five paid student interns.
The Reynoldsburg interns will continue to troubleshoot computer problems during the school year, but they no longer will be paid the $7.85 an hour they earn during the summer. Will Kerr, the district's director of technology, said that the students will be exposed to all areas of information technology so they can discover an area of interest for a research project.
The Reynoldsburg internship program was created by district officials in response to the struggles students faced in finding internships.
The Reynoldsburg program offers the interns to reprogram computers, take inventory of equipment, and connect laptops to the district's network. Some students are of them are itching to get started on their research projects.
Junior Ashley Fredenburg, 16, is interested in network security and wants to create a snort box, an external device that will detect any wrongdoing within the district's network.
"The school district has a really good external security, so if you are outside the network, it is really hard to get in," she said. "But if you're on a school computer and hooked up on the network, there's not much to stop people from getting access to files that they shouldn't." Fredenburg is looking forward to earning a certification in computer security. "I'll be ahead of the game," she said. "I'll be able get a job working through college because I have something like that."
In New Albany, schools are employing students in the summer and during the school year to work on the district's computers and tech devices. The internship helps students gain a valuable experience and skills that translate to any job, such as problem-solving and leadership, said Rob Hood, who manages the district's network operations and oversees the student employees.
New Albany students, along with routine tasks, have helped build computers, create websites on district programs and establish a job-ticket system to better organize requests to the data center.
Jeff Collett, the director of operational technology at Upper Arlington schools, said most of the school students who work with the technology department during the summer are interested in a related career path.