For the Advanced Internship Program, State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant said OSSE wants to provide students placement options in fields that include communications, business management, hospitality, information technology, engineering, architecture and the health sciences. (WI file photo)
For the Advanced Internship Program, State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant said OSSE wants to provide students placement options in fields that include communications, business management, hospitality, information technology, engineering, architecture and the health sciences. (WI file photo)

The District’s advanced internship program will enter its first full academic year with more than 300 slots available for high school juniors and seniors eager to explore a bevy of career fields. At this point, more than 100 slots have been filled as local businesses continue to answer the call to participate. 

Last spring, Kiera Lucas spent a significant portion of her time at The George Washington University (GW) where she gained firsthand forensics experience while working at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences Rodham Institute. 

Kiera, a Ward 8 resident slated to start her senior year at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in Northwest, counted among 60 students who received placement at more than two dozen employers in the health sciences. 

At GW, Kiera not only created a public service announcement about gun violence but earned a stipend and college credit while exploring a career path inspired by television shows she and her late father used to watch. 

“I am passionate about my community and my internship influenced my career path,” Kiera said. “Coolidge showed a forensics lab and gave me firsthand experience. A lot of people from Ward 8 don’t get my opportunities. I’m showing people what they can do even though we’re underresourced.” 

The Advanced Internship Program counts as the first installment in the Bowser administration’s Reimagined High School programming. The $30 million, three-year initiative will expand work-based learning opportunities for District high school students. 

Within a couple of weeks, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education will announce the launch of an advanced technical center where high school students can pursue postsecondary opportunities. The first cohort of students will be able to pursue nursing degrees. 

State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant said other programs will be put in place through which high school students can make the smooth transition to college or into a high-demand career field. 

In regards to the Advanced Internship Program, Grant said her office wants to provide students placement options in fields that include communications, business management, hospitality, information technology, engineering, architecture and the health sciences.  

Students who qualify for participation will have been enrolled in their school’s career and technical education (CTE) program. 

Through DC Public Schools’ CTE academies, students engage a curriculum that augments their high school coursework and prepares them for high-wage, high-demand careers. Offerings include preparation for certification exams, work-based experiences, internships and field trips. 

Bowser said the pandemic and students’ requests for real-world-oriented programming, inspired her office to up the ante so that students can immerse themselves in the careers of their choice as early as possible. 

“It’s an incredible opportunity for people to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives,” Bowser said. “We know and we learned during the pandemic that our kids can do it. This internship is a job and I’m proud that we are able to launch this to support [students] and families.”

Sam P.K. Collins

Sam P.K. Collins has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, columnist and organizer. Sam, a millennial and former editor of WI Bridge, covers education, police brutality, politics, and other...

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