By Lydia Pennington, Industry Relations Director
Cummings Research Park (CRP), Chase Industrial Park, and South Huntsville Main Business Association (South Huntsville Main) have collaborated with businesses to create internship opportunities for local high school seniors this spring. Between April 7–14, more than 100 students will be paired with neighboring businesses to provide a valuable learning opportunity for graduating seniors. There is an increased interest within our business community to invest in our future workforce, and this partnership provides a valuable opportunity for both students and employers.
“Our students are the future of the Rocket City. By providing seniors the opportunity to explore career opportunities at home and connect with local businesses, we are building the future human capital our city needs to grow and thrive,” said Bekah Schmidt, South Huntsville Main’s executive director. “For our seniors, this program gives them the chance to experience the workforce before going off to college, and will hopefully influence their career path. We are grateful to the Chamber for providing us the opportunity to participate in the intern for a day program.”
CRP successfully partnered with Columbia High School in 2019 to provide internships for students within the Park. This type of model is easily reproducible and ideal for companies looking to connect with local high school students. “The students were engaged, asked good questions, and represented Columbia well,” said Rick Wilbourn, CFD Research’s director of human resources.
In addition to CFD Research, other CRP companies that participated include Intrepid, LogiCore, ADTRAN, and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.
For businesses who have not had students inside their operations before, this is a wonderful opportunity to take that first step. Investing in the upcoming workforce is a valuable use of your time and resources, but you might not know where to start. That’s okay! For this exercise, it just involves opening your doors for one day for a student, or students, who are interested in your company or field of work. If you’d like to participate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appears in the February 2020 issue of Initiatives magazine, a publication of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.