Community

Bainbridge Youth Services launches intern program

  - Logo courtesy of Bainbridge Youth Services
— image credit: Logo courtesy of Bainbridge Youth Services

Bainbridge Youth Services is introducing its annual Kitsap County High School Summer Intern program this week.

The six-week internships run from July 7 through Aug. 15.

Sam Clarke, a BYS board champion for the program, designed it “as a way for youth to learn skills/traits that employers need, acquire significant knowledge, experience and career opportunities, while boosting their self esteem.”

The new program was prompted by employment reports that predict that by 2020, about 75 percent of 122 million available jobs will require higher skills and offer higher pay — but only about 55 million workers will be qualified for those jobs.

“Clearly we need new talent-creation systems, such as high school internships, to help ensure businesses have the qualified people they need, and youth have job-ready skills,” Clarke said.

To qualify, interns must be a junior or senior in high school and reside in Kitsap County.

Officials with the nonprofit said the paid internship program has been evolving over the last three years and will launch with a dozen employers across Kitsap County, including Bloedel Reserve, the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, the Kingston Chamber of Commerce, the cities of Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo, the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District, Harrison Hospital in Bremerton, Bainbridge Athletic Club, Bainbridge Island Blueberry Farm, Kingston-CPA, Kitsap Regional Library and Papa Murphy’s.

“The internship itself has two parts,” said Bob Linz, board president for Bainbridge Youth Services. “The first part is for the intern to do a job the employer needs accomplished. The second part is for the employer to introduce the intern to the varied elements that make their business successful.”

In this second role, the employer becomes more like a mentor sharing business planning, marketing strategies, finance oversight, human resource tasks and technology use that the intern might not normally see. The objective is to introduce the intern to career options and help them identify areas of interest and passion.

Based on an application by each employer, staff at Bainbridge Youth Services matched student interns with each employer. Staff worked with high school personnel to find strong skill matches for each employer.

“This first summer internship experience is mostly about us learning the best approach to matching youth interests and skills with employer’s needs, as well as making sure we prepare the youth to arrive on the job with basic skills, ready to turn off their cell phones, arrive on time, listen, apply themselves and learn,” said Marina Cofer-Wildsmith,  executive director of Bainbridge Youth Services.

More information about the program is available at www.bainbridgeyouthservices.org.

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