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Internship Programs Work for Students, Employers

Internships are not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Most provide students invaluable work experience, but it’s the hiring companies that can have the most influence. SA Works, the workforce development team within the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF), partners every summer with employers and educational institutions to invest in San Antonio’s future workforce through intnernships.

Companies like Bank of America and Union Pacific set an example of how employers can creatively support an internship program. Both invest in the community’s workforce by empowering other organizations to host interns. Union Pacific sponsors internships in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers specifically. Some of the organizations to benefit from Union Pacific’s support include Cyber Texas, Tech Skills on Wheels, Documation, and Detawing Global. In San Antonio, STEM-related careers grow at a faster rate than the national average. Internships in this field give students the experience they’ll need to fully explore career options.

“Internships ignite passion and curiosity as students explore potential careers and picture their futures,” Brenda Mainwaring, Union Pacific’s Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs said. “These students are our future leaders. They allow Union Pacific to remain a high tech company and push us as we continue using high-tech approaches, such as ultrasound, 3-D imaging, and laser technology.”

In another creative move, Jungle Disk, a local cybersecurity company, chose to host interns at the students’ own high school to provide a hands-on internship experience without a commute. The 23 interns from San Antonio ISD are engrained in marketing and cybersecurity for the company. Interns work in teams to study a component of the cybersecurity product suite and produce a go-to-market plan. Jungle Disk hopes to fuel students’ interest in technology while they are still in high school, building confidence before entering college.

Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) is a private non-profit organization dedicated to creating access to health care for uninsured and low-income families through direct services, community partnerships and strategic grant-making. While many employers in the healthcare industry believe they cannot hire high school interns for security reasons, MHM worked to overcome this misperception, increasing participation annually. With a record 40 interns hired this summer, students work across the organization in business operations and management to support the company and its mission to provide quality care to all and charitable care when needed.

“Our interns provide a tremendous amount of support to our team this summer. We love seeing the interns progress through hands-on workforce experience," Brit Peek, HR Manager, Methodist Healthcare Ministries said.

All employers can contribute to the future workforce by hiring an intern. SA Works connects industry and education to build a sustainable workforce pipeline in San Antonio. Visit www.saworks.org/employers or contact Saani Fong, SA Works School-to-Career Director for more information on SA Works programs.